Two studies were conducted by Lotus Engineering to consider the potential of developing passenger vehicles starting in 2017. Lotus' weight-reduction philosophy will benefit possible customers in terms of fuel consumption and C02 emissions. Lotus studied and compared the concepts to a benchmark Toyota Venza crossover.
Lotus achieved a 38% vehicle mass reduction, exclusive of the powertrain. For instance, when compared to the baseline Venza's 400-plus body parts, the 2020 model Lotus got only 211. However, the car kept comparable interior and exterior dimensions, as well as key safety and quality features as its counterpart.
The interior systems cover 50% lighter seats, climate control hardware, navigation electronics and others. It was also determined that there is a high level of component integration for space maximization and weight minimization. One example is the audio/ air conditioning/navigation touch screen that also contains the shifter and parking brake functions.
Chassis and suspension components will soon be downsized and the glazing and width of the windscreen can be reduced and replaced with a suitable, lighter substitute. During production, a low energy, low heat friction stir welding process that's used on high speed trains would be used along with adhesive bonding.
Lotus anticipates that this system, which is being used by some low volume carmakers, will have mass production value when the car becomes production ready. Lotus had imagined a second nearer-term vehicle for 2017. Lotus thinks that a mass reduction of 21%, excluding powertrain, was achieved in this specific study.