After the very popular Elise and Exige, the British car maker's new launch Evora's chassis has just received the European Aluminum Award 2008. The Evora, with its mid engine layout, 2+2 in a lightweight aluminum frame, is the only vehicle to be based on Lotus' Aluminum Crossover concept (APX) vehicle unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.
Touted as the Best car from the Lotus family ever, the Evora's lightweight aluminum chassis gives an opportunity for the production of countless cars which may weigh up to 1900 kg. Lotus's Versatile Vehicle architecture (VVA) makes the most of most of its engineers' expertise in using bonded aluminum and steel body manufacturing, there by allowing an efficient capital- saving system.
This revolutionary technology doesn't compromise on design and is more pertinent to mid volume productions which are targeted for niche market. The bonded aluminum chassis gives Evora the structure that carries on the legacy of Elise family with its distinguished panel and extrusions.
This architecture gives all the flexibility to vary the span and height of the vehicle; it can save on the cost again by changing the thickness of the wall. The range of options given by this architecture to the car makers has made them seriously think about different modifications- front positioned engines, mid mounted engines as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.
The roof forms the part of the structure, which consists of heat treated, high strength, bonded aluminum die-casts lending it a remarkable strength of 26000 Nm per degree and a strong and durable body.
The understructure uses the high pressure riveted aluminum extrusions and sheets which provide the necessary support to the roof. Notwithstanding the strength and rigidity provided by the structure; it's surprising that the chassis weighs only about 200 kg which can keep the weight of the vehicle down to a mere 1350 kg.
These are all prototype figures. The aluminum sub frames at the front and steel sub frame in the rear can be manufactured fully and then brought to the assembly line; thus offering convenience. Based in Worcester, UK, Lotus Lightweight Structures are going to build this hi-tech Evora chassis. By bringing in the VVA technology, the Lotus engineers and technicians have rewritten the rules; now it's on them to work on it.