Lotus to undertake lightweight vehicle study

Lotus Engineering has been commissioned by the Air Resources Board of California to undertake the second stage of a study investigating efficient, lightweight vehicles manufactured using lighter, stronger materials.

Lotus will conduct a detailed structural design and analysis of a prototype vehicle from an earlier study to demonstrate it meets the crashworthiness and safety requirements for vehicles sold in the US.

In April this year, Lotus Engineering concluded the first part of the study, released by the International Council on Clean Transportation in California, which recognised that a 38 per cent reduction in vehicle mass can be achieved for medium-volume vehicles − around 50,000 units a year − with an increase of three per cent in vehicle cost and a 23 per cent reduction in fuel consumption.

This study will be led by Lotus Engineering’s Michigan office, with completion in April 2011. The vehicle design will use a mixture of materials best suited to its application, including aluminium, magnesium, composites, high-strength lightweight steel and plastics.

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