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Lotus to Introduce New Series Hybrid Drivetrain Concept at Geneva; Use of Lotus Range Extender Engine

PROTON Concept Drivetrain
The PROTON concept drivetrain. Click to enlarge.

Lotus Engineering, the automotive consultancy division of Lotus Cars Limited, will showcase its latest series hybrid vehicle technology application in the PROTON Concept which will be unveiled at the 80th International Geneva Motor Show. The complete hybrid drivetrain in the PROTON Concept city car has been developed by Lotus Engineering and it includes the Lotus Range Extender engine (earlier post), designed specifically for series hybrid vehicles.

The PROTON Concept, a plug-in series hybrid city car, has been styled by Italdesign and will be unveiled on the Italdesign stand at the Geneva Motor Show. Lotus Engineering has designed and integrated the complete drivetrain, including the electrical drive system with single-speed transmission, which delivers low emissions, optimized performance and acceptable electric-only operating range for city use.

For longer journeys, when the battery charge level falls, the 3-cylinder, 1.2 liter Lotus Range Extender engine is used to replenish the charge in the battery and provide electrical power for the drive motors. The battery can also be recharged via an AC mains domestic outlet to achieve initial electric-only operation.

The Lotus Range Extender engine is optimized between two power generation points, giving 15 kW of electrical power at 1,500 rpm and 35 kW at 3,500 rpm via the integrated electrical generator.

The hybrid drivetrain of the PROTON Concept is another example of Lotus Engineering’s expertise in electrical and electronic systems and efficient performance engines. The high efficiency Lotus Range Extender engine, which we unveiled to great acclaim at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show last year is perfectly suited for the advanced series hybrid we have created for the PROTON Concept city car.

—Dr. Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering

PROTON, established in 1983, is Malaysia’s largest manufacturer of automobiles and owns Group Lotus. In 2007, Lotus Engineering unveiled the ‘EVE Hybrid’ (Efficient, Viable, Environmental) technology demonstrator at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show. Developed for, and in close R & D engineering cooperation with its shareholder Malaysian automaker Proton Holdings Bhd, it showcased how OEMs can introduce lower-emissions variants to existing model ranges that currently only offer conventional gasoline and diesel powertrains.

Speaking on the newest Lotus-PROTON collaboration, PROTON Holdings Berhad Group Managing Director, Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir said, “Our collaboration with Lotus and Italdesign on progressive technology and design will further propel our competitiveness in the world market. Through this association, we strive to acquire and jointly develop new knowledge, skills and technologies that will ultimately benefit our customers.”

In 2009, Detroit Electric Holdings Ltd, originally formed as a joint venture between ZAP and China Youngman Group, and Malaysia-based Proton Holdings Berhad formed a strategic partnership for the mass production of electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)



Looks like a good drivetrain.


Detroit Electric (JV and parters) could become an important PHEV-BEV worldwide producer.

This unit would be suitable for small PHEVs and BEVs. There is a very strong worldwide market for those.

Good luck in their endeavour.


They are making the right moves, when can not compete in the regular market they take their chances leap frogging them. The Detroit motor looks to be a good design, but they will need much more to succeed.


Looks like Lotus stimulated by Tesla success and the Volt ER-EV design - has found a product niche. It will be interesting to see if the 1.3L genset is hefty enough to meet real world drive conditions.

This was what the Volt was initially to use - until GM decided to go with the larger ICE, mostly for economic reasons. But Volt engineers have also said they were not confident that the 1.3L 3 cylinder ICE could handle the traction motor demands for hill climbing and towing.


That remains to be seen. If most of the driving is around town with some highway miles and climbing mountain roads is less than .1% of the miles, then this may not matter much. I don't know what the marketing data shows, but I would be interested to see it.

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