Lotus Engineering is continuing to move aggressively into the realm of greener transportation. This week two different consortia of which Lotus is a part were awarded development contracts by the UK Government Technology Strategy Board. The first of the two projects is the Zero Emission London Taxi that we reported on last month. The government money will be used to help with the commercialization of fleets of fuel cell powered taxis in London by 2012.

The other project, dubbed Limo-Green, involves developing a hybrid drive Jaguar sedan. The description of this car is fairly vague, mentioning an advanced drive motor, small battery pack and an auxiliary power unit for sustained cruising. It sounds like it might be an extended range electric vehicle but with a relatively small battery for only minimal EV-only range. Lotus is developing the APU as a small engine with high thermal efficiency and power output. This could be an interesting project to watch. The Lotus press release is after the jump.



Press Release:

Lotus Wins Two High Profile Green Car Projects
Lotus Engineering Invests in Low Carbon Vehicle Programmes

Lotus Engineering, the world renowned automotive consultancy division of Lotus has won two contracts as part of winning project consortia announced by the UK Government Technology Strategy Board. These two project consortia will be allocated part of a total £23 million for 16 innovative low carbon vehicle development programmes. Including investments from companies such as Lotus, these projects collectively represent a total value of £52 million.

Zero Emission London Taxi Commercialisation
Lotus Engineering is a key consortium member of the Zero Emission London Taxi Commercialisation project and is working alongside Intelligent Energy, LTI Ltd and TRW Conekt. Building on Lotus' considerable experience in developing high technology hybrid demonstrator vehicles, and supporting its many clients on electric vehicle programmes, this project will see the introduction of commercial fleets of
zero-emission fuel cell hybrid taxis primarily for London by 2012, and other cities by 2014.

The fuel cell taxi project pushes the complexity of this type of vehicle to a new level of advanced technology. Lotus Engineering will integrate the fuel cell engine with the electric drive train and hydrogen storage system, firstly bench testing, then integrating them back into a 'buck' vehicle and finally packaging the assembly into two taxis for full vehicle testing.

Limo-Green
The second project, Limo-Green, takes a Jaguar as a basis for the development proving out the concept of a large luxury hybrid executive saloon, utilising an advanced drive motor, small battery pack and a small Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) for sustained cruising. In a collaboration between Lotus Engineering, Jaguar Cars Ltd, MIRA Ltd and Caparo Vehicle Technologies, the project aim is to demonstrate a large, prestigious executive saloon with less than 120 g/km emissions.

Lotus Engineering will design and build a number of prototype Auxiliary Power Units and provide technical support for installation into the vehicle. The APU is an extremely efficient system, with ultra-high thermal efficiency and high power output.

Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus Plc said: "We are committed to driving forward with high technology advances into areas such as hybrid and electric vehicles, and we are delighted to be major contributors to two of the low carbon vehicle development projects. There is a world-wide drive to reduce CO2 emission levels and this is something to which we are dedicated, for both our Lotus cars
and our global engineering clients. We wholeheartedly endorse the government's initiatives through this investment from the Technology Strategy Board, which will assist in taking forward research, development and demonstration of these environmentally conscious and green transport solutions."

Commenting on the Technology Strategy Board's investment in the two projects, its Chief Executive, Iain Gray, said: "We are delighted to invest in these important research, development and demonstration projects. Cleaner and more efficient vehicles are a vitally important part of our response to global climate change challenges and will help the UK to meet demanding new CO2 standards for new vehicles. This is why we are investing in innovative low-carbon technology development through the Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform. Such innovative technology will also help position British companies to benefit from the growing domestic and international demand for lower carbon vehicles."

[Source: Lotus]