Geneva Motor Show: Lotus Evora 414e Hybrid

Richard Bremner

This is an experimental hybrid version of the new Lotus Evora that's capable of reaching 60mph in under four seconds, travelling over 300 miles between refuellings while producing lifetime CO2 emissions that are lower than for a pure electric vehicle.

On electric power alone, it will cover 35 miles on the official European test cycle. The Lotus is propelled by two electric motors producing 414bhp that drive the rear wheels, its lithium-ion battery recharged by Lotus's specially-developed trifuel engine that has been specifically designed to run as a generator for hybrid cars. This three-cylinder 1.2 litre engine can run on petrol, methanol or ethanol, or any mix of the three fuels.

The electronic control systems allow power to be varied between the two electric motors to improve traction and cornering power through torque-vectoring, while a Lotus-developed synthetic noise system combines with a pre-programmed seven-speed paddle shift gearbox to maximise the car's regenerative braking. The idea here is to enable the driver to determine how much slowing down he wants by using the gearbox – in most other electric and hybrid there's very little recapturing of energy until the brakes are applied, making this Lotus potentially more efficient. The Evora's British-made, Evo Electric motors are novel for being disc-shaped, enabling them to produce more pulling power at lower revs, and to package more easily into the car.