Overview: Proton-Lotus EMAS family
Proton’s three EMAS show cars are small, practical vehicles targeted at specific and realistic markets. There can be no doubt that they represent a serious toe-in-the-water exercise for the Malaysian manufacturer. As with many recent show cars that use ‘alternative’ drivetrains, the only barriers between the concept and the showroom are economic and marketing considerations. The technology works.
The first member of the EMAS family is a five-door hatchback with a 2590mm wheelbase and an overall length of 3550mm. Front and rear overhangs are negligible. Passengers are accommodated in four individual bucket seats; rear legroom clearly has priority over luggage space, though the 320l volume that Proton quotes isn’t too bad.
With the same platform and overall dimensions, the EMAS Country uses a three-door bodyshell with ‘urban SUV’ styling. The individual rear seats are replaced by a three-seater bench, which can slide fore-and-aft to alter the balance between knee-room and luggage space. The bench can also be folded to increase luggage room from 390l to 780l.
EMAS and EMAS Country share a Lotus-developed series hybrid drivetrain. The generator is a three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine designed to be compatible with methanol or ethanol. It delivers 51PS at 3500rpm. An 11.5kWh lithium-ion battery pack is used. The traction motor produces a continuous 61PS, with a peak of 102PS, but more significant is the torque of 240Nm. A single-speed reduction gear is used. Proton is quoting a standing-start acceleration time to 100km/h of 14 seconds, with a maximum speed of 105mph. Driving range on battery power is an impressive 30 miles. Full recharging of the battery pack takes three hours using a conventional 240V outlet.
The third member of the EMAS family, named EMAS3, is substantially different. Its 2040mm wheelbase is 550mm shorter, giving an overall length of just three metres. Passenger accommodation is described as ‘3+1’, with the position behind the driver being positioned further forward to provide at least a little luggage room. But the most important difference between EMAS3 and the others is the drivetrain: EMAS3 is a pure plug-in electric vehicle. Luggage and passenger accommodation can be varied according to the size of the battery pack and thus the vehicle’s range.
The EMAS platform was designed by Italdesign Giugiaro. The floorpan is raised to accommodate the battery pack in the centre. The raised position of the seats, which are all electrically adjustable, bears comparison with the A- and B-class Mercedes cars. The seat H point (the passenger hip position) is higher than that of mass-produced cars but lower than that of an SUV. Proton claims that this allows interior roominess on a par with that of a segment D saloon within the exterior dimensions of a segment A car — a long wheelbase and high seating position are certainly a good starting point for achieving good passenger room.