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Two more adopt the Lotus position

Lotus blooms: Niche manufacturer to employ more managers and engineers.

Lotus Engineering to meet growth with new managers now, 400 more engineers by 2015

7 Feb 2011

BASKING in the glow of three consecutive years of growth, Lotus Engineering has announced the appointment of two new managers and plans to recruit a further 400 engineers by 2015 as part of its plan to sell more third-party engineering services in China and Europe.

Hui Zhang joined the British sportscar brand’s engineering arm as general manager for China operations in September. Lotus said he brings to the company “specific expertise in the European and Chinese automotive industries”.

Mr Zhang, whose remit includes generating growth for Lotus Engineering in China, comes to the company after more than five years with the Chinese arm of automotive technology firm Kiekert, which produces vehicle door latching systems and pioneered electric central locking in the 1970s.

Meanwhile, Martin Elbs joined Lotus Engineering at the beginning of February as head of sales for Europe. His responsibilities include growing the company’s consultancy business in mainland Europe and managing the opening of its new office in Germany.

Mr Elbs comes from an engineering background, has “strong international management credentials” and previously worked for 15 years at ETAS, a German company specialising in vehicle control electronics.

Lotus Engineering director Dr Robert Hentschel, said the appointments reinforce the company’s commitment to its external clients.

 center imageFrom top: Animation of the Omnivore engine, the Evora Hybrid engine and Lotus Engineering director Dr Robert Hentschel.

“We will also increase R&D in our four core competencies and expand our global presence with new offices in Germany and California,” he said.

The Hethel-based firm’s five-year plan to further expand its third-party engineering consultancy services will bankroll development of the six new models it sensationally revealed at last year’s Paris show.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” said Mr Hentschel.

“This period will be seen as a renaissance in the history of Lotus. While providing engineering support for the spectacular new range of Lotus cars unveiled at the Paris motor show, we will significantly invest in and grow our engineering consultancy business to deliver our five-year business plan.”

In contrast to the sportscar side of the business, Lotus Engineering also invests heavily in the research and development of hybrid, alternative fuel and high-efficiency internal combustion technology, including the Ultra Boost project to develop a downsized engine concept.

Led by Jaguar Land Rover, the project also involves Shell, GE Precision Engineering, CD-adapco and three British universities, contributing engineering, design, combustion modelling, fuel and lubricants know-how.

The aim is to achieve the performance of a 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine with the fuel efficiency of a small four-cylinder by employing advanced, high-pressure forced-induction techniques.

Meanwhile, REEVolution (REEV stands for Range Extended Electric Vehicle) is another research project being undertaken by a consortium of partners including Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus Engineering, Nissan, THINK, Axeon, EVO Electric and Xtrac (the developer of KERS and Flybrid technology).

This consortium aims to produce Jaguar, Lotus and Nissan demonstrator vehicles with CO2 emissions of less than 50g/km.

Lotus Engineering’s own low-emissions technology projects include the development of an “Omnivore” compression-ignition engine which uses a variable compression ratio to be compatible with a range of fuels.

Running on petrol, the two-stroke Omnivore engine has been proven to return 10 per cent better fuel consumption and significantly lower NOx emissions over a direct-injection, spark-ignition engine.

In addition, Lotus Engineering’s lightweight, hybrid-specific 1.2-litre, three-cylinder Range Extender engine has been demonstrated in the Lotus Evora 414E hybrid, Jaguar XJ Limo Green and Proton Emas concept cars.

Both the Omnivore and Range Extender engines make do without head gaskets by incorporating the cylinder head and block into a single casting.

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