Lotus is the latest automaker hoping to convince buyers that small doesn’t have to mean cheap, as it releases the first images of a proposed city car that could hit market by late 2013.
As urban streets get more crowded and regulators press for big increases in fuel efficiency, even the most high-line automakers are looking for downsized alternatives, and the as yet-unnamed Lotus city car, which was first discussed by CEO Dany Bahar in Britain’s Car magazine, is one approach.
Looking a bit like a modernized, four-door take on the Smart fortwo, the tall Lotus three-door uses a platform specifically designed for an extended-range electric driveline. A 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine would most likely serve as a generator which, in turn, provides current to the vehicle’s electric motors.
It’s unclear whether Lotus might try to offer other driveline options, such as a pure battery-electric model, or a more conventional hybrid. Bahar did note that several versions will be developed, including a sporty model. Battery power actually lends itself to performance, as electric motors generate maximum torque as soon as they start spinning.