Lotus may not use Toyota engines in future

Lotus may not use Toyota engines in future

10th May 2018 6:00 am

Geely-owned brand could switch to Volvo powertrains for using resource options available from other brands under parent company.

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According to Lotus boss Jean-Marc Gales, the brand will continue to use Toyota-sourced engines for now, but wants to make use of other options available from Geely brands. This could mean that the brand is most likely to make use of resources developed by Volvo, whose technology is also being used by fellow Geely brands Polestar and Lynk&Co.

Volvo’s petrol range now consists of a 154hp, 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo and several variations of a 2.0-litre, turbo-four-pot making between 190hp and 310hp, with the latter aided by supercharging.

It is expected that Lotus would use in-house expertise to boost performance from any Geely-sourced engines, as it does with the current Toyota units. However, it seems unlikely that an unassisted 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine would provide the power required for Hethel’s top-performing sportscars

Opportunities to tackle this are provided by electrified versions of the same three- and four-cylinder petrol engines. Currently, that means Volvo’s 406hp T8 hybrid, but other variants – such as the three-pot hybrid expected in the Volvo XC40 and Lynk&Co 01 SUVs and the 600hp, four-cylinder hybrid of the Polestar 1 coupé – aren’t far away, with all-electric models also in the pipeline.

Talking about powertrain options for the higher-riding Lotus that’s due within four years, Gales said: “Crossovers can be hybrid or full electric.” As for future propulsion choices in Lotus’s more familiar segments, Gales did not rule out electrification, saying: “There are some years left for combustion engines in sportscars, but maybe a mild-hybrid would work.”

Gales is also open to using full-electric systems in that sector as the technology evolves. “The pace of development in electric drive is incredible and batteries are also moving fast,” he said.

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