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Lotus are ensuring a vibrant future of interesting cars by supporting young designers as they work their way into and through the car design industry. Last Friday saw the debut of Lotus supported Ted Mannerfelt's concept car at the Coventry University Design Show. Mannerfelt is on work placement at Lotus and has been supported by Head of Design Russell Carr.

The car - like a cross between a 340R and a motorbike - has used influences from Lotus's current range and will no doubt itself influence future offerings from the Norfolk manufacturer.

Adhering to the Lotus principles of being small, light and fun to drive, the car is also innovative in it's packaging and layout. A two seater jet-fighter style cockpit accomodates the driver and passenger. The silver metallic finish and darkened reflective finish add to the visual styling.

The passenger cell sits atop a suspension system that allows the vehicle to lean into bends as first seen on a recent Mercedes three-wheeler concept.

There's the usual talk of environmentally friendly gas/electric hybrid engines, but this model is currently set up with a 120bhp, 700cc motorbike engine as is the current trend amongst lightweight car designers. This in theory would allow the 450kg car to reach sixty in around five seconds. With a six speed 'box a

nd that fascinating suspension it would surely be all about driver enjoyment rather than out and out speed.

Hopefully we can look forward to seeing some of Ted's inflences in Lotus's future offerings.

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