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Lotus Re-Engineers Toyota Venza, Saves 38% Weight For 3% Cost

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For most of us, there are few cars on the market less exciting than the Toyota Venza. But a Venza re-designed by Lotus? Still a Venza--except that it's 38 percent lighter and only 3 percent more expensive. Still not moved? Imagine the savings applied to your favorite mass-market sport sedan or coupe. Things start getting exciting.

The weight savings expedition was undertaken with environmental benefits in mind, but as Colin Chapman noted back in the 1960s, lightness is also of benefit to acceleration, cornering and braking. It's good for a 23 percent or greater reduction in fuel economy, too, though, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's estimates.

Lotus Engineering hopes to get the techniques used to lighten the Venza study vehicle into mass-market production pipelines by 2020. The key is using better materials and more component integration while still maintaining the volumes, sight lines and safety of current cars--all goals achieved with the Venza study car.

The possibilities for the mainstream and sport/luxury segment alike with application of Lotus' engineering principles could see us driving not the neo-Goggomobils of the dystopian global warming/CAFE/peak oil induced future, but cars like those we have today--powered to similar performance levels by more efficient engines. And that's something we can all appreciate.

[Lotus]

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Comments (8)
  1. Wicked. But, it's just a concept. Build one and we'll have a story.
     
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  2. Who cares about cost and weight, they fixed the suck problem the Venza has!! That thing is hawt! I'd buy it!
    The current Venza is nice at first blush, but further time looking at it reveal many lines and curves that don't make sense.
     
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  3. Did they just rip all the non essential equipment out like all the cupholders?
     
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  4. 38% lighter means 38% smaller payload or much harder suspension, unless they have added adjustable suspension or much larger suspension movement. If the payload of 1200# stays the same, it goes from 33% to 51% of the kerb weight. You can't have such a high % without very large wheel movements, very hard springs, or self-levelling.
     
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  5. Waaaaayyyyy better looking then the Venza turd too.
    Once Toyota figures out their little run-away-acceleration-killing-people problem, maybe they'll hire some better designers.
     
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  6. Les D must have been a suspension engineer like me. He is rightabout proportions.
    I don't think the Venza is a turd. Real pass-car based station wagons are making a comback.
     
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  7. Les D, it's a true observation but completely a non-issue in this case. Having 38% lighter cars is incredible if the weight savings are coming without sacrificing ride quality, safety, or noise abatement. Worrying about the suspension not being able to deal with a larger weight variance is like worrying that if people lose weight they'll have a harder time in heavier clothing. Obese car weights are what's wrong with the world as it is.
     
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  8. They should have done this study not only on a Venza, but also on a number of those overweight SUVs like Touareg/Q7/Cayenne, Escalade/Denali, and Enclave/Traverse/Acadia
     
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