Talking of Elises, I’ve been driving one with body panels and seats made from hemp, and upholstery provided by sheep grazing near Lotus’s Norfolk factory. The Lotus Eco Elise has water-based paint, solar panels in its roof to run the radio and air conditioning, and ultra-light wheels which reduce its kerb weight by 32kg to just 828kg.
But the best aspect of what Lotus freely admits is a mobile technology test bed and not a production car is that if anything, and thanks to that weight drop, it is fractionally better to drive than the standard Elise S upon which it is based.
The idea behind the Eco Elise is to look at ways of producing a car that is truly green, not just in its headline-grabbing economy and emissions figures, but down to the way it’s built too. It’s a neat idea that, if nothing else, will help Lotus bolster its reputation for original and innovative thinking at a time when the world needs the lightweight construction and clean manufacturing technique it espouses more than ever.