Toyota Motor Corp.’s campaign to promote the hybrid technology to reduce costs has been boosted by the addition of Lotus to its list of hybrid powertrain customers. A Lotus official confirmed that the 5.0-liter, V-8 Lotus Elite that will go on sale in 2014 will be offered with a Toyota-supplied gasoline-electric drivetrain as an option.
Lotus, which will showcase the Elite at the Paris auto show, said that this version will be equipped with a hybrid gearbox with integrated electric motors and a kinetic energy recovery system that recoups heat energy during braking to recharge the battery.
A Lotus official said that they are working with Toyota on powertrain solutions for upcoming cars but that it is not yet an existing system. Toyota said that it is open to this type of deals as it “would like to see environmental technologies adopted and used as widely as possible.”
However, Toyota didn’t confirm these plans exactly. Toyota has made its Prius hatchback the topselling hybrid car but in order to achieve volume and lower the costs of its expensive battery and motor systems, Toyota has promoting the technology to rivals.
Ford jumped on the bandwagon early while Subaru and Mazda have expressed their commitment to use Toyota's hybrid technology on future models. Mercedes-Benz is in talks with Toyota over the use of its powertrains as well.
Producing a hybrid version of the $180,000 Lotus Elite brings the drivetrain into the new territory of high-priced sports cars. Lotus claims that it will be able to sprint from zero to 62mph in about 3.5 seconds. [via autonews - sub. required]