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Lotus Ethos electric city car promises pants-friendly motoring

Lotus is gearing up to release a new range-extended electric citycar that doesn't require you to flash your undercrackers every time you get in or out.

Lotus sports cars are highly impractical things. Simply getting in and out of an Elise, Evora or anything else beginning with an E requires a degree of double-jointed flexibility only Russian gymnasts can muster, not to mention underwear you don't mind flashing to passers-by.

There is one Lotus, however -- a new range-extended electric city car -- that doesn't require you to reveal your undercrackers every time you get in or out. Ladies and environmentally conscious gentlemen -- meet the eco-conscious, spine-friendly, underwear-aware Lotus Ethos.

The car, first unveiled at the 2010 Paris Motor Show alongside a slew of Lotus sports cars, is a huge departure for the Lotus. It's a compact city car in the mould of the Aston Martin Cygnet, with a propulsion system inspired by the range-extended electric Vauxhall Ampera

The Ethos' range-extender gubbins consists of a battery pack, which is used to drive an electric motor, and a supercharged 1.3-litre engine that serves as a generator. Combined, the system should help the Ethos achieve an electric-only range of around 40 miles, though once the battery is exhausted, the range-extending petrol engine kicks in to add a further 250 miles of gas-powered range.

The system has a total output of 67hp (50kW), according to, which should be enough to help it achieve a 0-60mph time of under 10 seconds and a top speed of 76mph.

Lotus has confirmed the Ethos will go on sale here in Europe as well as the US in 2014. Don't expect it to be cheap, though. Reports suggest it'll cost you around £30,000, but if Aston Martin can get away with charging that sort of cash for a heavily customised Toyota iQ, there's no reason Lotus can't charge this sort of moolah for a car that's far more attractive, not to mention a damn sight more efficient.