August 24, 2006 Lotus has always danced to a different drum. When the rest of the world was building muscle cars in the sixties and seventies, it went the other way. Light weight, superb handling, miniscule frontal areas and svelte aerodynamic efficiency became the hallmarks of Lotus roadsters which always did more with less. Now the Lotus brand is further extending its values towards the responsible use of resources with the Lotus Exige 265E which runs on environmentally friendly bio-ethanol E85 - 85% ethanol alcohol and 15% petrol! As the Exige uses a supercharged and intercooled engine, Lotus engineers saw the opportunity to prove the point that green sportscars can offer high performance by exploiting the performance characteristics of ethanol. Ethanol has a high octane rating, which allows an optimum timing for engine ignition and has a fast flame speed in the combustion chamber, so the fuel burns faster, increasing the efficiency of the engine. Ethanol has less stored energy per unit volume than gasoline so the fuel economy is less, however as E85 ethanol is 85% sourced from renewable bio matter, there is a net reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2). The beauty of using ethanol though, is its ability to produce more power in the engine than with conventional petrol and the Exige 265E is the most powerful road Exige ever. The Exige 265E now produces 264 bhp at 8000 rpm (up 21% over the petrol Exige S), and 184 lbft of torque at 5500 rpm (up 16%). The performance figures are pretty healthy for a green machine: 0-60 mph in 3.88 seconds, 0-100 mph in 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 158 mph!
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