Luxury Vehicles: Back at September’s 2010 Paris Auto Show Lotus unveiled a new minicar concept simply dubbed the City Car, confirming the automaker’s intent to venture into new territory--both in terms of price and vehicle category.
Along with the unveiling of the City Car concept, Lotus also announced a tentative release date for the production version of 2013. We now have some new details concerning the production reality of the City Car, including information about where and by whom it will be built.
In an exclusive interview with CAR, Lotus CEO Dany Bahar revealed that the new City Car will be built in a partnership with parent company Proton, most likely in Malaysia, and with a third, as yet unnamed firm.
“Our city car has been confirmed and will be launched in October 2013,” he said. “We are doing this together with Proton and another OEM or car maker.”
Bahar went on to reveal that there will be three different versions; a low-cost model for Asia, as well as a regular model and sportier version. The original concept version featured an advanced plug-in hybrid system with a single-speed transmission and an electric only range of roughly 40 miles--enough to cover the majority of daily journeys.
Once the vehicle’s batteries start to get depleted, owners can simply plug it into a regular household power outlet. If none can be found, the vehicle can keep driving in a range-extender mode where a small internal combustion engine is utilized. In this fashion, the vehicle can drive up to 300 miles.
While the prospect of a range-extended minicar from Lotus is an exciting one, it’s best not to hold one’s breath as the automaker’s technical director, Wolf Zimmermann, has previously revealed that all resources are currently focused on several planned sports models including the new Esprit supercar.