The Proton Concept will be a city car styled by Italdesign and unveiled at the Geneva auto show. Big deal, right? Euro-styled city cars will be a dime-a-dozen in Geneva. But what makes the Proton interesting is that it will be a plug-in series hybrid powered (a la the Chevy Volt) with a drivetrain developed completely by Lotus Engineering.
The system starts with an electrical drive system with single-speed transmission that provides twist to the wheels at all times. As long as the battery level is at an acceptable charge, the Proton will function as an EV. Once you approach the limit of the vehicle's yet undisclosed electric-only range, a Lotus-designed three-cylinder, 1.2-liter Range Extender engine springs to life to supply power to the battery and generate electrical power for the drive motors. As a plug-in hybrid, the Proton can also be plugged into the grid to refresh its batteries' charge.
Dr. Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: "The hybrid drivetrain of the Proton Concept is another example of Lotus Engineering's expertise in electrical and electronic systems and efficient performance engines. The high-efficiency Lotus Range Extender engine, which we unveiled to great acclaim at the IAA Frankfurt Motor Show last year, is perfectly suited for the advanced series hybrid we have created for the Proton Concept city car. It is an exciting example of the diverse range of highly efficient total propulsion systems that Lotus Engineering continues to develop for its partners and clients."
Stay tuned for a closer look at the Proton concept when it is unveiled at the 2010 Geneva auto show.