Are green cars boring? Well, there may be some green cars on sale today that still aren’t exactly drivers’ cars, but there were a number of vehicles on display at LCV2012 that showed that even people who want high end luxury or responsive sports cars can still have low emissions.
One of these vehicles was the Lotus Evora 414E
, an electric car with a range-extender engine. This means that it can operate on electric power, in other words with zero-tailpipe emissions, but thanks to its on-board petrol range-extender, which kicks in to provide power generation if the battery runs low, there’s no limit to the driving range, as long as you can refuel with petrol (or renewable bio alcohol fuels such as methanol and ethanol).
The Infiniti EMERG-E is based on the Lotus Evora 414E platform. So it has the same electric powertrain with range-extender, but an exterior and interior designed by Infiniti.
The shared powertrain system for both cars includes a 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre range-extending engine, two electric motors, and a lithium-ion battery. The powertrain generates an output of 408 hp (300 kW) and 1000 Nm (738 lbft) of torque, giving a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds, a top speed of 130mph, emissions of just 55 g/km CO2, a 30 mile electric range and a 300-mile total range.
The Jaguar XJ-e is a plug-in hybrid engineering research vehicle – demonstrated for the first time at LCV2012 – which has CO2 emissions of less than 75 g/km CO2 – a reduction of more than 70% compared to a normal XJ, along with an official combined fuel economy figure of 87mpg – and the aim is to achieve all of this without compromising vehicle performance. The XJ_e has a plug-in 2-litre petrol hybrid powertrain – which is somewhat downsized compared to the 5-litre V8 in the current XJ.
All three of the cars above have been developed as part of a Technology Strategy Board project called REEVolution. The Technology Strategy Board has provided funding to develop projects that offer a leap forward with low carbon vehicle technology. The projects bring together different organisations to work together in collaboration – in this case Axeon Technologies, EVO Electric, Xtrac, Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus and Nissan to work on next-generation components for plug-in vehicles. Historically the likelihood of rival car companies working together in such a way was unheard of, but this collaborative approach has been seen as a huge success by all those involved in Technology Strategy Board projects.
These three cars are currently just demonstrators, but like many vehicles at the LCV event over recent years, it won’t be long before you’ll see this technology in cars that you can buy – for example, the just-launched new Range Rover is due to be offered with a hybrid-electric drivetrain next year; we drove the Range_e Range Rover Sport demonstrator with this powertrain at LCV2011
Read about our exclusive drive of the electric Lotus Evora 414E – coming soon.