British sports car manufacturer, Lotus, a world leader in alternative fuel, electric and hybrid technology research, has hailed the British government’s investment package for green and low carbon vehicle projects
The 2.3-billion pounds Sterling boost for green car research was part of a 2.5-billion motor industry package announced by Britain’s Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson.
Mandelson said the British government is offering no black cheque or operating subsidies. “(The car) industry is not a lame duck and I am not proposing a bailout.”
He said the car industry has a vital part to play in rebalancing the British economy. “Britain needs an economy with less financial engineering and more real engineering.”
The 2.3-billion will be available to back loans to car manufacturers and suppliers for investment in “green research and development,” Mandelson said.
Lotus CEO, Mike Kimberley (pictured), says the announcement had been “a long time coming…but I’m delighted that the government has recognised the vital importance to the automotive industry of research into green, environmental and low carbon (vehicles).”
Kimberley says Lotus has been working on green projects for years and is now an acknowledged world leader in environmentally-friendly technology.
He says the green development thrust is true to the “Lotus brand value of creating lightweight and efficient vehicles” espoused by the company’s founder, the late Colin Chapman.
“It will be a very tough year for the global automotive industry, but Lotus is reasonably placed compared to some other car companies,” Kimberley says.
“We have an ambitious research and development programme and we’re very encouraged by the invitation given by Lord Mandelson to Regional Development Agencies to bring forward programmes for research and development into cleaner engines and lighter cars, areas in which Lotus is (a) world leader.
“We have restructured and prepared our three key areas of business, the manufacture and sale of Lotus cars, world class high technology automotive engineering consultancy and contract manufacturing for third parties, to assist in riding this economic downturn and to continue as world leaders in advanced automotive technology and low carbon cars.”
Chrysler’s production-ready Dodge Circuit EV electric-powered sports car (pictured) is based on Lotus’ Elan chassis.