Malaysian automaker Proton plans to sell a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid minicar in Europe within 30 months.
The hybrid is one model in the new Emas family of minicars jointly developed by Italdesign Giugiaro and Proton.
“We are planning to enter Europe first with the hybrid model, following with a non-hybrid version,” Proton Managing Director Dato Haji Sed Zainal Abidin said.
The Emas production model will be a five-door hatchback. Proton plans to build 150,000 units a year in Malaysia of the new minicar, which will be sold in most markets, excluding the United States.
Italdesign and Proton unveiled the five-door hybrid at the Geneva auto show along with two other Emas body variants: a three-door, SUV-styled so-called Country version and a City variant, the latter is just 3000mm long and with room for 3+1 passengers.
The production minicar, which is the same size as Fiat Panda, will cost about 10,000 euros (about $13,650) in Europe for the non-hybrid variant. The hybrid version will cost 30 percent to 40 percent more.
“I wanted the new minicar in production immediately, but engineers told me it would take two and half years,” Proton Chairman Dato' Mohd Nazdimi Mohd Salleh said in an interview.
The UK's Lotus Engineering, a Proton subsidiary, created the hybrid powertrain.
Proton has built more than 3 million vehicles during its 25-year history but few of them have been sold outside Asia.
The aim of the Emas project is to provide Proton with eco-friendly cars that meet global safety and emissions standards so that the automaker can expand its footprint.
For the new car range, Italdesign Giugiaro created a specific platform that features a raised floorpan to accommodate the hybrid system's batteries in center of the car.