In addition to the first information released by Italdesign in mid-February, the Italian design studio has now released new details on the upcoming hybrid Concept. The line-up that will debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show will include a SUV/Crossover version based on the same 3.55 meter long platform developed by Lotus, which is part of the Proton Group.
This variant – dubbed "Country" – will be characterized by a higher ground clearance and a five-passengers cabin – instead of the four-seater layout of the hatchback.
The flexible platform can be used in conjunction with a variety of powerplants: the first vehicles will be powered by a 1.2 liter 3 cylinder engine capable of running on gasoline, ethanol and methanol.
Below we report the official press releases by Italdesign and Lotus Engineering.
From the official Press Release:
Italdesign Giugiaro introduces the second configuration of a car family that will break the mould of traditional market segmentation, the country version.
"We have created a family of models in different configurations, but which still offer the spaciousness of a medium-category car while maintaining the exterior dimensions of a compact mini. The architecture has been designed in such a way as to allow us to outfit an infinite number of variants without giving up great comfort and extensive interior space" explained Giorgetto Giugiaro, chairman of Italdesign Giugiaro.
The country version offers the same dimensions as the hatchback; only the ground clearance has been increased. Compared to the first configuration, it can accommodate 5 passengers instead of 4, the B pillar has visually disappeared and the number of doors has decreased from 5 to 3. Access to the car is still easy however, due to a generous door no less than 1350mm in length and the ergonomic, rational rear seat position.
The series hybrid drive system was developed by Lotus Engineering, part of the Proton Group, and includes a 1.2 litre capacity 3 cylinder internal combustion engine that can run on petrol, ethanol or methanol.
The front transverse internal combustion engine serves exclusively to recharge the lithium ion batteries.
"Developing a car based on a hybrid system allows the designer to maximise all the opportunities and advantages offered by the combination of internal combustion and electric engine in terms of the arrangement of volumes and dimensions. With this project, we have shown that the car layout remains unchanged regardless of the type of fuel system, be it conventional, hybrid with petrol engine, hybrid with natural gas engine or also fully electric” – continued Giorgetto Giugiaro.
The Proton/Lotus Platform
The PROTON Concept car, to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, showcases an advanced series hybrid drivetrain, designed and developed by Lotus Engineering.
Lotus Engineering, the automotive consultancy division of Lotus Cars Limited has announced its latest series hybrid vehicle technology application in the PROTON Concept, which will be unveiled at the 80th International Geneva Motor Show.
The complete hybrid drivetrain in the PROTON Concept city car has been developed by Lotus Engineering and it includes the Lotus Range Extender engine, designed specifically for series hybrid vehicles.
The PROTON Concept, a plug-in series hybrid city car, has been styled by Italdesign and will be unveiled on the Italdesign stand at the Geneva Motor Show. Lotus Engineering has designed and integrated the complete drivetrain, including the electrical drive system with single-speed transmission, which delivers low emissions, optimised performance and acceptable electric-only operating range for city use.
For longer journeys, when the battery charge level falls, the 3 cylinder, 1.2 litre Lotus Range Extender engine is used to replenish the charge in the battery and provide electrical power for the drive motors. The battery can also be recharged via an AC mains domestic outlet to achieve initial electric-only operation.
Dr Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: “The hybrid drivetrain of the PROTONConcept 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.”
PROTON Holdings Berhad Group Managing Director, Dato’ Haji Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohd Tahir said, “Our collaboration with Lotus and Italdesign on progressive technology and design will further propel our competitiveness in the world market. Through this association, we strive to acquire and jointly develop new knowledge, skills and technologies that will ultimately benefit our customers.”
(Source: Italdesign, Proton)