Lotus recently bestowed upon us a tantalizing glimpse of their ?Project Eagle?, the rumoured Esprit replacement, in the form of an aluminium front sub-frame assembly ? more than enough to get the juices flowing for those with a penchant for the Lotus product.
Hot on the heels of that little expose comes the Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel, which Lotus unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. The remarkable thing about the 270E is not just the fact that it can run on three different fuel types but that it will produce enormous power when doing so.
The 270E is the most powerful road going Exige developed by Lotus and develops 201kW at 8000rpm and 260Nm at 5500rpm. It will handle the 0-60mph (96km/h) dash in a supercar like 3.8 seconds, running on either of the alcohol based fuels (bio-ethanol and methanol). Lotus claim that emerging technologies will allow alcohol fuels such as methanol, already a proven internal combustion fuel, to be made synthetically from CO2 extracted from the atmosphere ? an ideal fuel perhaps?
As well as being green, the great benefit of synthetic methanol is that it would use similar engines and fuel systems to those in current cars; and synthetic methanol can be stored, transported and retailed in much the same way as today's liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel.
Synthetic methanol also possesses properties better suited to internal combustion than today's liquid fuels, giving improved performance and thermal efficiencies. And it is ideal for forced induction engines which are gaining popularity as manufacturers seek to downsize engines without downsizing power outputs, in an effort to improve fuel consumption.
Lotus Engineering's Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel runs the same 1.8-litre 2ZZ-GT VVTL-I engine as in the regular Exige S. Lotus say that only minimal changes were required, including modified ECU software, a fuel system compatible with alcohol fuels, along with the higher flow rate fuel pump and injectors required to produce the 201kW.
The tri-fuel Exige 270E has been developed as a concept vehicle to showcase the environmental focus adopted by Group Lotus and to further express that 'green' vehicles can also produce exceptional performance.