Monday, February 7, 2011

Lotus Designs Smart Fortwo Sized All-Electric Mini Car Concept

From the make-believe world of 'What if...' comes our next story on a concept proposal for an all-electric mini car from Lotus. However, what makes this project stand out from the usual independently styled concepts is the fact that it was actually designed by Lotus. See, Automotive Engineer magazine asked the British sports carmaker to come up with a concept vehicle to show how far city car design could go.

The result is an extremely compact-sized mini car equipped with a 37kW-strong electric motor. Like many other EVs, power is provided by a 10kW lithium-ion battery pack which is positioned under the floor and can be recharged in three-and-a-half hours through a standard household 13A plug. The vehicle would have a range of around 50 km or 30 miles while it would be able to reach a top speed close to 65mph or 105km/h.

At just 2,600 mm or 102.4-in. in length, 1,600 mm or 63-in. wide, 1,700 mm or 67-in. in height and with a wheelbase of 2,000 mm or 78.7-in. the Lotus designed mini is roughly the same size as the two-seater Smart Fortwo and quite smaller than the 3+1 seater Toyota iQ.

Nevertheless, Hethel's designers say that mini can seat up to four people, albeit the two rear passengers will most likely feel like a pack of sardines. Alternatively, the rear seats can be folded to provide a luggage space. Driver and passengers would enter the car through a pair of sliding side doors.

The mini car would use an aluminum spaceframe in the floor while according to Russell Carr, head of Lotus Design, the body would be pressed aluminum or composite materials, depending on the sales volume.

Lotus points out that the design for the mini car was completed in approximately two weeks instead of the typical concept phase that lasts between three and six months, meaning that the project is a more of a rough sketch than anything else. And just to prevent any sort of rumors, the magazine says that vehicle wasn't designed as a Lotus city car but as a concept that could be developed for a third-party automaker.

Via: Automotive Engineer

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