It was set to make a heroic comeback in 2009, but word on the interwebs is that Lotus has delayed the return of its Esprit until 2011. Now, we aren?t sure if this delay can be attributed to the current global credit unpleasantness, or simply Lotus wanting more time to get their next supercar...?just so?. Perhaps a little of both.
More interesting than the delay, is the speculation that the propeller heads at Lotus are working on a hybrid version of the Esprit. That, in itself, sounds a little ho-hum until you realise that the petrol engine part of the equation won?t be some asthmatic little 1.4-litre with less power than your mum?s blender.
Oh no... the folks at Lotus are believed to be strapping in BMW?s 4.4-litre V8, complete with twin-turbos (pinched from the BMW X6) and tweaked a little for an output of around 500hp (100hp up on the X6 version). That should give the electric propulsion system some keen competition.
Lotus is no stranger to green propulsion systems, and obviously sees a significant competitive advantage in bringing a green(ish) supercar to market before their Italian competition.
Lotus is also working on an extended-range electric vehicle that uses a petrol-powered generator (similar to the Chevy Volt in concept). They are also in the process of developing a hybrid drivetrain suitable for motorsport, in conjunction with Honda and using Honda?s Civic hybrid technology as a base.