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Lotus Range Extender Helps Power Jaguar XJ Hybrid Sedan

Updated December 16, 2012

A while back, Lotus Engineering, Jaguar Cars Ltd., MIRA Ltd., and Caparo Vehicle Technologies embarked on the ‘Limo-Green’ development program. Funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, the program’s aim was the development of a large, lightweight, and prestigious executive sedan with CO2 emissions of less than 120 g/km.

Lotus Engineering recently unveiled the Lotus Range Extender propulsion system that would be used for the Limo-Green vehicle. Like the Chevy Volt and Fisker Karma, the range extender strategy creates a plug-in series hybrid that enables batteries to be charged off the grid, as well as by regenerative braking. The range extender’s engine is mated to a generator that can also charge the batteries while driving, thus extending driving range beyond what would be provided by battery capacity alone.
Like the Volt, a small displacement three-cylinder gasoline engine is used to drive the generator. The 1.2-liter range extender engine uses innovative aluminum monoblock construction that integrates the cylinder block, cylinder head, and exhaust manifold in a single casting. Interestingly, monoblock engines were used in the early days of the automobile. In this case, the approach results in a lightweight engine of only 123 pounds while also reducing parts count and assembly cost. Plus, eliminating the cylinder head gasket improves durability.

The belt-driven SOHC (single overhead camshaft) engine uses two valves per cylinder and a 10:1 compression ratio. It features an optimized two-valve port fuel injection system and can be run on alcohol-based fuels or gasoline. The generator is directly attached to the engine via the crankshaft and offers a maximum 47 horsepower (35 kW) at 3500 rpm. Batteries supply power to a 145 kilowatt, 295 lb-ft electric motor.

The Lotus Range Extender will be used in a series hybrid version of the all-new Jaguar XJ sedan. While the new XJ will be a 2010 model, the hybrid version will probably appear as a 2011 variant. Jaguar’s goal for the Limo-Green is an electric-only range of 30 miles with the range extender increasing this to 600 miles. This should result in a combined fuel economy of 57 mpg, CO2 emissions of less than 120 g/km, and a top speed of 112 mph … excellent credentials by any measure.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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