Lotus recently announced that they will unveil their all new range extending generator designed for series hybrid vehicles at the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show next week.
The generator, a tiny 1.2 liters in size and boasting only 3 cylinders, is designed to be attached to the electric motor via the crankshaft. The purpose of the range extender is to extend the vehicles range beyond that of battery power alone.
The generator can use either gasoline or alcohol based fuels for combustion and is designed in such a way that it can either provide power to recharge the batteries of the vehicles or provide power directly to the electric motor or motors contained within any series hybrid that utilizes the new Lotus range extender.
Lotus was kind enough to release the vital stats on this new generator. It's comprised of aluminum monoblock construction which integrates the cylinder block, cylinder head, and exhaust manifold into one single casting. This process reduces weight, manufacturing costs, size, emissions, and increases the engine's durability.
The range extender has settings that have been optimized by Lotus to provide 15 kilowatts of power at a low 1,500 rpms and can deliver up to 35 kilowatts of power at 3,500 rpms by way of the on-board generator. The entire unit weighs in at a mere 123 pounds which Lotus believes will make it ideal for many series hybrid applications.
According to Lotus, the entire system was designed with the intention of cutting costs from series hybrid vehicles. By utilizing several cost saving measures, Lotus believes that this unit can reduce the overall cost of the finished vehicle. According to Lotus, the generator's low cost and high electric output will allow automakers to reduce battery sizes and thus the price of the vehicle without reducing range or efficiency.
Lotus intends to sell the generator to outside manufacturers. They have not released any details pertaining to the price of the complete assembly.