Obvio! Automotoveiculos SA of Brazil has picked Lotus Engineering to help it develop two new microsports cars that are being dubbed trybrids. Obvio! will initially be building two new cars, the 828 and 012, for markets around the world. Lotus has been given a full development program that includes the vehicle safety structure, integration of engines capable of running on gas, ethanol or natural gas and other variants. The flex-fuel internal combustion variants will hit the streets first followed eventually by electric versions.
Obvio! is partnering with Zap! to be the North American distributor for their cars. Do you have to include an exclamation point in your name if if you're go to build electric cars, or is it just for low end EVs and so exludes Tesla(!) for now? Lotus will be incorporating Niess Elliptical Survival Rings in the design, and working with Brazilian suppliers. The rings should make for a stiff chassis for good performance as well as a safe structure. Target weights are 1,650 lbs for the 012 and 1,300 lbs for the 828, which makes Lotus an obvious choice for a designer, since they have a long history of feather-weight cars. Lotus will also be creating new electronic controls for the 1.6L engines from Tritec Motors and mate them to a CVT. The trybrid designation comes from the ability to automatically run either the CNG, ethanol, or gasoline. Production is due to start in late 2008 in Brazil.
[Source: Obvio! via GreenCarCongress]