The Royal Automobile Club has named Group Lotus plc as the recipients of the historic Dewar Trophy for 2008.
The Dewar Trophy is awarded for an outstanding British technical achievement in the automotive field and the Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee unanimously agreed that Lotus should be recognised for the company's development of its Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) chassis technology.
Lotus Versatile Vehicle Architecture (VVA) has been developed to exploit the benefits of producing at low to medium volumes but for niche markets. Engineering a bespoke low-volume platform is an expensive, time-consuming solution, whilst sharing a mainstream chassis normally results in compromises in performance and design. VVA exploits Lotus Engineering's expertise in aluminium, steel and composite body engineering, joining techniques, and vehicle systems integration. This innovative technology offers a fast-to-market, cost-effective approach without the compromise that stems from conventional 'platform sharing'.
The Lotus Evora enters the sports car market as currently the world's only mid-engined 2+2. Powered by a Lotus-tuned 3.5-litre V6 engine producing 280PS (276 HP), and weighing just 1350kg (2,976 lbs.) (prototype specification), the Evora promises breathtaking performance and uses a low volume application of Lotus Versatile Vehicle Architecture.
John Wood, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club's Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee, said: "The thing that particularly impressed the judges was the single minded determination with which the team at Lotus had sought to find the best possible solution to the particular problem of building an uncompromised lightweight chassis for a low volume road car, and then continually developed and refined that concept to respond to emerging requirements.
"What they have now is a platform system that is not only ideal for high performance sports cars, but also almost infinitely versatile and well suited to the needs of niche vehicle manufacturing in an era where environmental concerns are driving a demand for lightweight structures for a multitude of applications."
Mike Kimberley, Chief Executive Officer of Group Lotus plc said: "I would like to thank the Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee for the award, and all at Lotus are most honoured to receive this accolade. It is a fantastic achievement for Lotus to win such a prestigious and recognised award for our Versatile Vehicle Architecture technology which is used in our stunning new Lotus Evora sportscar. This award is for everyone at Lotus; those who created the VVA technology, those who delivered the Evora engineering programme and those who are building our car. With incredible hard work and dedication at Lotus, using this technology our excellent staff have delivered the Lotus Evora in 27 months from a clean sheet to the first production car driving off the line, a great achievement.
Mike Kimberley continued. "The automotive industry is changing fast, and technology needs to be robust, faster to market and more cost and mass effective than ever before, and Lotus will be there at the forefront of this exciting period for the future of personal transport."
The Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee was set up to study automotive engineering excellence and determines if the candidates meet the strict terms of reference for the awarding of the Trophy in a particular year.
Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee
John Wood (Chairman) Former Managing Director, Motor Industry Research Association
Ben Cussons Chairman, the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee
Alec Osborn MBE Past President, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
Karl Ludvigsen Influential and highly respected motoring author and historian. Former Senior Executive with Ford, Fiat and General Motors
Steve Cropley Editor-in-Chief, Autocar Magazine
In total, eighteen entries were considered in detail by the Dewar Trophy Technical Sub-Committee for 2008, representing a complete cross section of automotive development, covering all types of vehicles, components, engineering and systems and, throughout, technical innovation and development was evident in abundance. 2008 marks the 40th occasion the Dewar Trophy has been awarded since the first presentation to Dennis Brothers Limited in 1906.
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