Lotus's plug-in Evora

* Lotus's new plug-in Evora * 0-60mph in less than four seconds * Sounds like a 'Star Wars fighter'...

Lotus's plug-in Evora

Lotus will unveil a plug-in hybrid version of the Evora at the Geneva motor show next week.

The Evora 414E has a total output of 408bhp from a pair of electric motors that can propel the car from 0-60mph in less than four seconds.

Combined range of 300 miles
The 17kWh batteries provide a range of 35 miles and can be recharged fully overnight. For longer journeys, however, there is also a small 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine to charge the battery and extend the range to more than 300 miles 64 miles farther than a Tesla can do.

Lotus says: 'This is a far more energy-efficient, weight-efficient and cost-effective solution than fitting the vehicle with a larger and more expensive battery, which for the majority of journeys is a redundant weight that increases energy requirements.'

Simulated gearbox and engine noise
Although electric motors do away with the need for gears the 414E is essentially a single-gear car the Lotus has a simulated seven-speed, paddle-shift gearshift to make the car feel more 'normal'.

Theres also the HALOsonic Internal and External Sound Synthesis to provide a soundtrack, so drivers can select between the noise of a conventional V6 or V12.

Star Wars
If the V6 or V12 accompaniment isnt to your taste, however you can also select a more futuristic sound, which Lotus says is akin to the noise of a fighter from Star Wars. Well have a listen at the Geneva show and report back.

On a more serious note, as more and more electric cars come onto the market, manufacturers will have to address the fact that the vehicles are near silent and pose a potential danger to cyclists and pedestrians.

Lotus has no timetable for the introduction of the car. It is more a showcase of the technologies that the company can offer to other manufacturers.