Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid Debuts at the Geneva Motor Show

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[Updated with New Photos] Lotus is officially throwing its hat into the "hybrid sports car" ring. Hot on the heels of Porsche, the British featherweight world champion is going to be debuting its own plug-in racer based on the Evora's Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) platform, the Evora 414E. In their own words, they consider it a "high performance technology demonstrator". Sounds cool.

The purpose of this 414-horsepower hybrid is to showcase the latest in Lotus hybrid tech, something the 414E does in spades. First off, those 414 horses come from two electric motors powering each rear wheel (at 207 PS / 204 hp each).

Next, the torque: 295 lb-ft. Per wheel. Each motor sends torque through its own single-speed transission (the two are combined in one housing), while the power is stored in the only place Lotus would ever store a battery pack: dead center in the car, for balance's sake. Now you can see that Lotus is serious. But how is it a hybrid?

On pure electricity, the car will zoom around for 35 miles, and that's just plain no fun. After those 35 miles, the Lotus Range Extender engine kicks in (if you're thinking Volt, you're spot on) offering a total driving range of 300 miles or 480 kilometers.

An 85-kilo 1.2 liter 3-cylinder that puts out 48 PS (47hp / 35 kW), its only purpose is to charge the motors (meaning it never directly drives the vehicle). When the batteries need to be charged, it'll be an overnight process.

As for performance, Lotus claims that the Evora 414E Hybrid can sprint from standstill to 60mph (96km/h) in less than 4.0 seconds.

The best part: all that tech isn't just the power/drive train. There's so much more cool stuff. For the car's look, Lotus Design has put together a unique copper-tinted paint scheme to evoke the idea of "electrical systems". Neat, but how does it feel different than a Lotus-derived Tesla? Glad you asked.

First, there's the previously-mentioned one-speed transmission. A computer system synthesizes the feeling of driving a pseudo-manual transmission; to the driver, it's going to feel like driving a paddle-shifted seven-speed DCT.

Then there's a system called HALOsonic (co-developed with Harman International) which supposedly simulates the sound of various engines (V6, V12, "futuristic", etc.) to the driver and people outside the car.

The Lotus Evora 414E: a hybrid sports car that offers people to adjust how it sounds and feels. An automotive mood ring. The way of the future? Who knows...

- By Phil Alex