These two well-known British engineering companies will collaborate on advanced propulsion technologies, sharing research and development. Batteries, electric motors, internal combustion engines, you name it.
Pictured above is Lotus` 2012 Evora 414E, an experimental plug-in hybrid that used a 1.2-liter three-cylinder gasoline engine as a range extender. It was built as a government-backed technology demonstrator, and Infiniti used it as the base for its Emerg-E concept the same year. But nothing more came of it.
Now, seven years later, Lotus is taking a much more serious look into its future powertrains by teaming up with Williams Advanced Engineering. If that name is familiar, it`s because this is the arm of the Williams F1 Team responsible for road car projects like the Aston Martin Rapide E, Singer DLS, and Vanda Dendrobium. This collaboration makes a lot of sense, given how Williams is an electrification and powertrain pioneer, while Lotus Engineering`s projects revolve more around advanced composites, lightweight structures, compact packaging and aerodynamics.
While 2018 was Lotus`s strongest retail year since 2011, the company told us that the engineering side of the business contributed around 15 percent to Group Lotus` turnover. As of now, Lotus is once again in the process of expanding that division, starting with a recruitment drive backed by the shareholders, with the main one being Geely. And with Lotus looking into ways of beating giants like Porsche or Ferrari at their own game, that`s where Williams Advanced Engineering`s know-how should come in handy.
There is no word on what the exact project or projects Lotus and Williams are working on, but it got us wondering if this was the beginning of Lotus going to a fully electrified lineup. Thankfully, Lotus told us that`s not the case:
The partnership is about the R&D of the complete picture of advanced propulsion, so not restricted to just battery technology, or motors. As such, it doesn’t mean that all future Lotuses will be electrified, because we are looking at all manner of propulsion systems - including ICE.
While work begins on propulsion technologies, the Hethel factory is also getting a complete overhaul, with the addition of a new Customer Experience Center, Heritage Center and Museum. One thing is for sure: Lotus hasn`t seen this much action since last winning a Formula One season, in 1978.
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