Three prominent automakers teamed up to jointly develop the Proton Emas Hybrid. Employees at Italdesign Giugiaro co-created the car with one of Malaysia's largest automakers, Proton, and outsourced the hybrid drivetrain to Lotus.
Proton really needs an interesting new hit to win back market share they have lost over the last few years. Perhaps that is why they selected the name "Emas," which translates from Malay into English as "gold."
"We have created a family of models in different configurations but all offering the passenger room of a medium-category car while maintaining the exterior dimensions of a compact mini," said Italdesign chief Giorgetto Giugiaro. "The architecture has been designed in such a way as to allow us to outfit an infinite number of variants without compromising the car's great comfort and extensive interior space."
The result were three different versions of the car, including the three-meter long Emas3 City three-door with three normal seats and one with less legroom to support a smaller sized car. This sacrifice is made to create space for batteries, as the car is a plug-in electric vehicle. Additional batteries can be installed in place of one or two of the seats. Range and performance on the all-electric has not been determined.
However, the other two vehicles are both hybrids. The Emas Country is a three-door with space for five, and 550mm more length. It is matched in size by the five-door Emas Comfort with four individual seats. Each uses a 45kW motor that peaks at 75kW, and provides up to 240 Nm (177 lb-ft) of torque. The motor runs on electricity supplied by 11.5 kWh lithium-ion batteries, with power supplied by a 1.2-liter flexfuel engine producing 51 PS (38 kW / 50 hp) and a generator.
The two hybrids have a 0-100 km/h sprint time of about 14 seconds en route to a 170 km/h (106 mph) top speed. All-electric range is estimated at 50 km (31 miles).
The three manufacturers were trying to create alternative-drive vehicles that were capable of being small, but providing a relatively normal amount of space. To that end, Giugiaro drew off his experience working on the Alfa Romeo Alfasud fourty years ago.
"With this project, we have shown that the car layout can remain unchanged irrespective of the type of fuel system; be it conventional, hybrid with petrol engine, hybrid with natural gas engine or fully electric," he said.
Large amounts of glass were used to make the cabin feel more spacious. However, Italdesign made the weird decision of only allowing the occupants to open the lower third section of the windows.
The interior is fitted with three touchscreen panels to serve as an infotainment unit, a replacement for several gauges, and to control the car's functions. USB ports, SD card slot, and iPhone dock are all included.
All three versions of the Proton Emas are on display at the Geneva Motor Show. You can find out more in the press release below.