The Lotus Elise is a two seat, rear-wheel drive, mid-engined roadster conceived in early 1994 and released in September 1996 by the English manufacturer Lotus Cars. The car has a hand-finished fibreglass body shell atop its bonded extruded aluminium chassis that provides a rigid platform for the suspension, while keeping weight and production costs to a minimum. The roadster is capable of speeds up to 240 km/h (150 mph).
Announced on October 9, 2000, the Series 2 Elise was a redesigned Series 1 using a slightly modified version of the Series 1 chassis to meet the new regulations, and the same K-series engine with a brand new Lotus-developed ECU. The design of the body paid homage to the still-born M250 project, and was the first Lotus to be designed on computer.
Source: Wikipedia, 2011.