Green Lightning! Lotus Brings Bioethanol to the Track

Lotus Exige E265

We all seem to be pretty green-minded here at the CarGurus blog these days; my excuse is that a friend of mine recently came back from Tennessee and the “Inconvenient Truth” training with Al Gore and company, and her enthusiasm and wealth of information has left me feeling like a fossil-fuel-swilling roadhog.

But wait! There’s hope on the horizon, even for hopeless car junkies and racing aficionados. While reading this interesting article about the rise of bioethanol in Europe, I discovered that Lotus has created a bio-powered racing car, the Lotus Exige 265E.

What could be cooler than a supercharged Exige? A supercharged Exige that delivers 265 horsepower and faster speeds than the regular Exige, and does it all on E85 fuel (that’s 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). The unique concept car is a one-off demonstration model, but the performance has been so consistent that reviewers and drivers alike are calling for Lotus to add a bio-friendly element to its luxury line.

The green stripe is for…well, you’ve probably figured it out, but the sleek, streamlined design is old-school Lotus at its finest. The lucky people at got to take this beauty for a spin, and it’s every bit as fast as it looks.

Okay, so you probably can’t afford a Lotus (I know I can’t). But this kind of creativity is testing the limits of what new, planet-friendlier fuels can do. We’re seeing innovation like this all over Europe–Saab’s Biopower models, which are being sold right now in Sweden and elsewhere, are an indication of how these alternative-fuel cars can command a place in the market.

And my only question is this: is the American car industry going to catch up?

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