Instilling in all of us a momentary sense of panic, Lotus has just revealed its take on the city car. But it is only that. A rough idea, rather than anything they actually plan to do.
Cue a collective sigh of relief. Lotus Head of Design Russell Car was asked to improve on the Toyota iQ and Smart ForTwo by a design magazine.
Not, as yet, by his boss.
His vision is a three/four seater like the IQ, but tall and tiny of footprint like the Smart. A high driving position provides excellent visibility in traffic, while a low centre of gravity would ensure a modicum of Lotus-like handling. But this thing is electric – and not in the Tesla sense of the word – so performance takes a back seat to economy.
Inside there’s a head-up display and a dock for your MP3 wotsit, thereby saving weight and cost on electric gubbins, and all of it run off solar panels integrated into the roof.
The really clever bit, however, is in the way the car would be made. With a flexible bonded aluminium chassis, various takes on the basic model could be produced, like a hose-down hire car, a mini-pick up, and even, God willing, a high performance carbon fibre number.
And each variant could be flat-packed and shipped internationally. Could this spell global dominance for Lotus? Watch this space…