First Ariel, now Zenos. Who next?
At this moment in time, it must be both thrilling and frustrating to be an automotive engineer. On the one hand, we're entering a truly exciting and fast-paced time in the development of the car; on the other, the pace of this technological evolution means you'll need to start committing to ideas and concepts if you don't want to risk being left behind. As a result, even small car companies like Zenos - as Autocar reports - are experimenting with these new breakthroughs.
Brought about via a 250,000 GBP ($326,000) grant, and developed in partnership with firms like Cosworth, this new research initiative is Zenos' attempt at dipping its toe into the Sea of Hybrid Drive Potential. Though it shouldn't be seen as an outright commitment to releasing a hybrid model (Zenos' managing director, Mark Edwards, explicitly stated the project is just a "first step in evaluating" possible future powertrain options), this project does allow Zenos to tinker with riskier projects that, without the grant assistance, would have been impossible to justify if the firm could only finance such a venture with its R&D budget.
Whether we'll see a production-ready Zenos hybrid is anyone's guess, as there's far more to developing a gas-electric car than just wiring up a motor and battery pack to an ICE system (for instance, Zenos would have to create a custom ECU system, as the control unit in the Ford EcoBoost engines it uses in the E10 range isn't designed to work with hybrid systems). But it is yet another instance of a carmaker keeping the main bases covered, and ensuring an eye is kept constantly on the ever-changing state of the car industry. Everyone knows the ICE will be phased out at some point, and no one wants to be left behind when the changing of the automotive powertain guard does eventually happen.