Lotus: A Passion for Racing Turned Into Years of Innovation
When Colin Chapman built his first Lotus car back in 1948, his main objective was to feed his passion for motor sports. Lotus cars are made to race and when it comes to racing, faster is always better. This is why the company firmly believes that the lighter the car is; the faster it performs on the race track. Over the years, this philosophy has been the cornerstone of Lotus’ innovations. From winning Formula 1 races to providing fast road cars to their customers, Lotus’ cars are enhanced and refined with lightweight technology in mind.
Pioneering Bodywork Upgrades
Lotus cars are not only notable for their good looks but also for the sense of purpose of their design. From rear suspension struts to the aerodynamically shaped underside, Lotus bravely designed and developed various improvements to the external bodywork of their cars for optimized performance.
The company introduced a lot of ‘firsts’ in the automotive industry including the use of front and rear wings for positive aerodynamic down force, or the use of monocoque for lighter and stronger body frames. They were also the first to place radiators at the sides of the car for greater aerodynamic performance. In fact, Lotus is so exceptional in manufacturing lightweight cars that their Elise S got ranked as one of the lightest cars in the world with a weight of just 860 kg. These lightweight and aerodynamic innovations present on Lotus’ cars encouraged competition among other car manufacturers to produce similar vehicles which are up to par with Lotus’ latest technologies.
Development of Lotus Engines
One of the most noticeable innovations from Lotus is the engines underneath the hoods of their high-speed cars. From Lotus-Ford twin cam to powerful V8 engines, Lotus surely has come a long way. Back in 1962, the Lotus-Ford twin cam engine was developed for the Lotus Elan. This was a low-cost, compact, and powerful engine which was also used by other vehicles until the mid-1970s. Over the years, the company’s engineering team successfully worked together to come up with their own versatile V8 engine which is also designed to achieve high performance coupled with its minimum weight. With the company’s ethos, it’s no wonder that Lotus is one of the firsts to produce lightweight engines. This innovation by Lotus paved the way for other car manufacturers to follow suit.
Giving Back to the Environment
Lotus has come a long way since Colin Chapman started this company at his girlfriend’s garage. Recently, the company also decided to jump on the Eco-friendly bandwagon by gearing its current innovations towards a more environmental approach. From sustainable materials and cleaner manufacturing process to weight reduction and efficient driving techniques – Lotus certainly put on a lot of thought into developing one of its most successful models, the Elise. With this latest innovation, this British car company only proves that you can actually drive an economical and environmentally-friendly car without having to compromise its appearance or performance.
Lotus Won’t be Leaving the U.S. Any Time Soon
If you are one of those Lotus enthusiasts who are worried that the company will finally pull out its cars from U.S. after years of getting by, then worry no more because, apparently, Lotus is still a player in the North American market – which is also known as the largest sports car market in the world.
Contrary to popular rumors, Lotus has no plans of giving up its goal of providing high performance and lightweight sports cars in North America. In fact, the company is gearing up for some major changes in the coming years. If you’re a total Lotus-buff, then be sure to look forward to these upcoming innovations:
Improved safety features for Evora
Yes, you can now look forward to a better and safer driving experience from Lotus.
It’s no secret that earlier Lotus car models distributed in the U.S. market did not meet the safety standards of U.S. and Canada because they lacked the required smart airbag system. Even the Lotus Evora – the only road-legal Lotus car, mind you – faced safety issues because of these strict standards.
Lotus revamped the safety features of the Lotus Evora and produced a better equipped and safer version of the model. The new and improved Evora 400 made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March 2015. As promised, this new version of the Evora is now fully compliant to US safety standards with its side airbags. Evora 400 also features improved traction and balance, more user-friendly interior, and – of course – lighter weight.
The return of Elise
Lotus also aims to invest on re-engineered designs and concepts for the newer versions of Elise and Exige. Both models are sold solely for race track use as of the moment but don’t worry; Lotus is planning to change that these coming years.
The new Elise is said to have a better airbag system as well as additional crash protection. All improvements are designed to comply with U.S. safety standards. However, these additional safety features are likely to affect the car’s weight and performance. Lotus’ engineering team are taking the time to develop these features to avoid any possible stumbles, so it would be better to curb your enthusiasm because this won’t happen until 2020.
Joining the SUV market
Yes, you read that right. This British sports car manufacturer is set to produce an SUV. This is a far cry from what the company usually does but Lotus can’t ignore that the crossover and 4x4 markets are continuously soaring all over the world.
With the production taking place at China, Lotus plans to launch its first SUV by 2019. Of course – like every other car from Lotus – this SUV will uphold the company’s tradition of lightweight and high speed performance. This is basically a sports car in a family-friendly SUV packaging. Definitely great news for Lotus fans who are torn between buying a family car or a personal sports car. Just wait a few years and you’ll have those two in one lightweight SUV.