It’s taken a fair few years, but the folks at Lotus have finally figured out what to do with the crops surrounding their Norfolk base: use them to power their cars.
This is the new Exige 265E, which runs on E85 bioethanol fuel – a mix of 85 per cent plant-produced ethanol and 15 per cent petrol.
Far from just making the car green (CO2 emitted by the car is offset by CO2 consumed as the fuel-producing plants grow) this also makes the 265E the most powerful Exige ever, with 261bhp.
Based on the supercharged Exige S, the 265E has a slightly modified engine, with changes to the fuel system, the engine calibration and the fuel injectors mounted on the inlet manifold. Two additional fuel injectors have also been fitted at the supercharger inlet. Power is up by 46bhp and torque by 25lb ft.
These alterations mean the bio-ethanol Exige sprints from 0-60mph in 3.88sec, from 0-100mph in 9.2sec and on to 158mph. That’s some improvement to the 4.67sec to 60mph and 11.87sec to 100mph we extracted from the rather rapid standard Exige S earlier this year.
Lotus does not intend to put the 265E into production, but is using the car to further its research into new fuel technologies.
"We wanted to prove the point that green sports cars can also be very high performing,” said Geraint Castleton-White, head of powertrain for Lotus Engineering.