(from Lotus Press
Release) Trackday Warrior Turns Eco Warrior
Lotus unveils the Eco
Elise technology demonstrator at the British Motor Show,
capitalising on great strides forward in green technology.
The Eco Elise project
promotes a different perspective on green, one which does not
revolve solely around tailpipe CO2. This holistic approach is in
keeping with the progressive Lotus culture, driving Lotus to become
the worlds green automotive consultancy.
Sustainable materials, hemp, eco wool and sisal have been developed
for body panels and trim and, combined with hi-tech water based
paint solutions, showcase new affordable green technologies. The
green credentials of the technology on show in the Eco Elise have
been analysed throughout the lifecycle of the car.
A green gear change display has been integrated into the dashboard
to promote greener driving as well as a weight reduction programme,
illustrating the holistic approach taken. The energy expended to
manufacture the car has been evaluated, working to the 3Rs -
Reduce, Re-use and Recycle.
Mike Kimberley, CEO of Group Lotus plc commented "This Eco Elise is
a great example of the advanced and affordable green technologies
Lotus is developing. We are at the cutting edge of environmental
technology and are determined to push forward with our green agenda.
The Lotus brand values of lightweight, fuel efficient, and high
performance are more relevant today than they ever have been. We are
keen to ensure that Lotus as a company and its products offer an
ethical, green option that appeals to our customers".
In keeping with the performance through light weight philosophy,
the Eco Elise weighs 32 kg (70.5 lbs) less than the standard Elise
S, which means that the efficient Elise S engine in the Eco Elise
will give higher fuel economy figures and even better performance.
Dramatic improvements to the culture and operations at Lotus has
rewarded the company with staggering reductions in energy
(Electricity 14%, Gas 30%) and water (11%) consumed across the
Hethel headquarters in 2007, compared to 2006. These advances have
coincided with improvements in recycling, with 57% of waste product
now being recycled.
The new green materials sourced for this car have been carefully
studied to ensure that each technology used reduces the
environmental impact of the vehicle. The life of the components has
been analysed; during the production stage, in-use and at the end of
the vehicles life. The technology used aims to offer lower
emissions of both solvents and CO2 in the lifecycle of the vehicle,
with reductions in energy consumed during manufacture.
The Eco Elise will be displayed in the Greener Driving Pavilion at
the British International Motor Show from 23rd July until 3rd
August. The project displays affordable green technology that is
intended to be feasible and production viable in the near term
The Lotus Eco Elise in more detail
The project focuses on
The renewable materials
have been incorporated into the project, with hemp, eco wool and
sisal providing natural, biodegradable engineering materials.
Cleaner manufacturing processes have been sought, utilising the
latest water based paint technology. Using this paint system saves
energy and reduces emissions of solvents from the paint shop. Solar
panels have been set into the hemp hard top to help power the
electrical systems and give a means of renewable energy generation.
With the use of locally farmed hemp, the carbon miles to produce the
Eco Elise are reduced, in keeping with the holistic approach to this
vehicle. The Eco Elise puts an emphasis on efficient driving
techniques by using an economy gear change display to improve fuel
efficiency and promote greener driving. The car has undergone a
weight reduction programme to add a little extra lightness,
assisting in more economical, greener driving.
technical fabrics have been used as the primary constituent in the
high quality A class composite body panels and spoiler. The
renewable hemp has exceptional material properties that make for a
very strong fibre. Historically hemp has been used in the
manufacture of rope, illustrating the great strength of the
The hemp fibres have also been used in the manufacture of the
lightweight Lotus designed seats. An additional benefit of using
hemp is that it is a natural resource that requires relatively low
energy to manufacture and absorbs CO2 whilst growing as a plant
through natural photosynthesis. This hemp material is used with a
polyester resin to form a hybrid composite, however it is hoped that
a fully recyclable composite resin will be viable in the short-term
The Eco Elise seats are upholstered in a durable yet, biodegradable
woolen fabric that has been given the EU Flower certificate to
exemplify its environmental credentials. This new material is
ethically produced and does not use any dyes or harmful processing.
In fact the colour is created from the selection of sheep breeds
used to produce the wool for the yarn, which increases the natural
feel of the wool and reduces the processing of the cloth.
Sisal is a renewable crop that, like hemp, is used for its strong
material properties. Sisal has been used for the carpets in the Eco
Elise, as it is a tough, abrasion resistant material. The use of
these materials illustrates the capability at Lotus of utilising
new, advanced materials and the flexibility of the manufacturing
Cleaner manufacturing processes
Whilst improving the
green credentials of the Lotus production facilities, the Lotus
Paint Facility, in partnership with Du Pont has developed a totally
water-based paint system. This paint solution includes primer,
colour coat and lacquer, and it is the first time that it has been
possible to hand spray a water based A class production paint
In using this progressive water based technology, Lotus is able to
achieve impressive savings in energy consumption due to the low cure
temperature this paint requires. An additional benefit of this paint
system is the reduction in emissions of solvents, all of which
contribute to substantial cost savings for Lotus. This is a result
of the unique collaboration with Du Pont in pushing forward
low-volume paint spraying technology. This technology is anticipated
to be available in production cars in the near future.
Renewable energy generation
The hemp hard top on the
Eco Elise has two flexible solar panels neatly embedded in the roof,
contributing power to the electrical systems and saving energy that
would be drained from the engine.
The solar panels have been integrated into the hard top to
illustrate the feasibility of applying this technology. This
application shows the installation of solar panels into a composite
A class panel with a double curvature. Using this technology on a
greater number of panels would make it possible to provide more
power, especially on a larger vehicle.
Reduction in carbon miles
The hemp fibres have
been farmed in East Anglia, thus reducing the carbon miles incurred
in the production of this Elise. Lotus Manufacturing has component
manufacturing facilities and a paint facility at its headquarters in
Hethel, Norfolk, with another manufacturing site a short distance
away in Norwich. The company operates a carefully managed logistics
system operating between sites to improve efficiency, reduce costs
and carbon miles. This is a Kanban driven barcode system that has
been adopted by key suppliers. The process also uses packaging that
is recycled many times over to eliminate waste.
Efficient driving techniques
Lotus cars have red
shift lights to help drivers extract the maximum performance from
the engine. However for the Eco Elise, Lotus designed software has
been developed to assist drivers in maximising the fuel efficiency
of the engine. A green gear shift display has been integrated into
the instrument panel to ensure that gears are changed at the optimum
point to reduce emissions and save fuel.
light weight" is so synonymous with Lotus. The reduction in mass
improves the handling and braking performance and also reduces the
effort required to accelerate the car. The weight reduction
philosophy has even extended to the audio system with an
exceptionally lightweight stereo and speaker system from Alpine
saving 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). The system uses MP3/ iPod technology in a
sleek modern design.
The Eco Elise uses special lightweight wheels that reduce the
unsprung mass and contribute a weight saving of approximately 15.8
kg (34.8 lbs) over the already super light Elise wheels. The weight
saving programme for the Eco Elise has resulted in a total saving of
around 32 kg (70.5 lbs) over the feather light Elise S, which
reduces the fuel required to drive the car.
About Group Lotus plc:
The main operating
subsidiary of Group Lotus plc is Lotus Cars Ltd, which has two
operating divisions - Lotus Engineering and Lotus Cars. Lotus
Engineering is an internationally recognised automotive engineering
consultancy based in Norfolk, UK. Global facilities include those in
Michigan (USA), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), China and offices in
Germany and Japan, with rapid expansion in new territories such as
South East Asia and the Gulf States.
Lotus Engineering provides comprehensive and versatile consultancy
services to many of the world's OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers, offering
a full engineering service from initial concept and project design
through development and integration of the complete vehicle to meet
all worldwide markets and customers to full production. This
includes third party 'niche vehicle' engineering and manufacture
Lotus Cars builds world class, prestige, high performance sports
cars for sale in 37 countries. These include the iconic Lotus Elise,
and the Exige and Europa. Lotus is a global high-tech company,
expanding and committed to driving forward technology for both Lotus
Cars and its Engineering clients, spearheading research into such
areas as hybrids, electric vehicles and renewable fuels.
What is the EU Flower?
The EU flower is a
symbol of superior environmental quality and is available to a
range of products and services.
The scheme, which
has been designed and is overseen by the European Commission,
sets out specific ecological criteria that products must comply
with to be certified as environmentally friendly.
The award of the
label is independently verified and endorsed by the European
Commission. The EU Flower is a recognised environmental quality
mark across the countries of the EU and in Norway and