Friday, December 17, 2010

Dany Bahar to commision new Lotus designed engines...What an opportunity to resurrect the 918 turbo...

Well it's been a week since ASLI. The phone has not rung off the hook...
Interestingly, Lotus via Dany Bahar are talking about designing a family (V6 and V8) of engines.Normally, designing engines from scratch for a run of 6000 vehicles per year (estimated) would not make sense. When Lotus as a division of GM helped design the ecotec it was with a view to use in Opel/Vauxhall and Holden cars, plus in later years the USA.
I have to think the business case was for a lot more than 6000 units per year.
The V8 is for the exotic end of the market... I'm guessing 1000+ units a year.
Dany Bahar must be hoping for a massive profit margin per vehicle to cover Research and Development.
If he cuts corners and the engine is a dog ... Goodbye Lotus (seriously).
Here is a link to an article in autofieldblog
 entry dated 18 feb 2010.
General Motors is again making an investment in manufacturing capability in the U.S. Today it announced it will be spending $494-million—yes, just short of a half-a-billion, which somehow sounds more impressive—for the production of the next-generation Ecotec four-cylinder engines.
The primary recipient of spending will be the GM powertrain plant in Tonawanda, NY. It will be receiving $425-million to obtain the capacity—meaning facility renovation, new machinery, equipment, and tooling—to produce 370,000 engines per year. It also means the creation of about 470 jobs.

May I suggest, he incorporates my project into his business plan, and designs the engines in tandem with a renowned educational institution, and use the design material in educational modules. If the engine is good the design data will be in demand with students world wide in subscription form modules.
Working with an educational partner from the outset will impact R&D costs negatively, however Ministry of Education approved modules will give long term returns on investment.
The Hethel Centre sits on the Lotus site. Lotus (Proton) effectively gave the this land away.
It is public knowledge that the land was provided by Lotus at nominal cost.
The Hethel Engineering Centre has to date spent 7.4 Million pounds on the educational facility.
Lotus is a partner.
If Dany Bahar is serious about building an FIA approved track on the Hethel site. He is a long way to fitting the template set out in my webpage.
I'm sure the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) with whom he is negotiating a loan would be very pleased to think that some of the loan may be used to promote education within the area.
While writing this I came across an interesting article: Perhaps Lotus are thinking of using their old 918 V8 turbo... has written an interesting piece:
The 918 engine’s architecture was designed with an eye towards modular construction, such that the engine could be manufactured as a twin-tubo V8, a single-turbo inline-4, a supercharged V6, or even a naturally-aspirated V10 … this “modularity” is a well-practiced black-art at Lotus, which uses the same basic modular chassis to produce two generations of the Elise and Exige sportscars, as well as the GT1 Elise, the Opel Speedster...
You’ve got to hand it to Bahar.  He’s not a car guy, but he seems to have a good business head on his shoulders, and he may be the guy who finally turns the world’s best engineers into the world’s smartest car company.
Sources:  Autocar, Wired, a long and sad series of lonely Saturday nights in college spent reading Motor Trend.

Interesting article. If this is an old off the shelf design, then maybe a sensible business case can be made for it's resurrection in 4-6-8 and maybe 10 cylinder iterations. Teaming up with educational institutions still makes sense. They may even digitize some of the design data for a nominal fee...

I must say that Dany Bahar has not said they will use the 918 turbo as a starting point.

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