Frequently Asked Questions November 2001
Recently we've gotten some very good media coverage in the US, Europe and
Japan for our Elise Honda conversion program. There seems to be a lot of pent-up
demand for the Elise in the US. It's difficult to give detailed responses to so
many emails. This editorial will address some of the US issues. We get enough of
FAQ's that we'll respond to them here on our
web site and reduce the number of requests for this information.
How to import your own Lotus Elise? We have done considerable research on the technical and
legal aspects of importing Elise vehicles. There are ways to
accomplish it. However, it takes a sufficient budget and dedication of
resources. Sorry, we don't have the time to explain to someone how they can
import their own Lotus Elise and then having to explain why it's so difficult.
There seem to be a lot of eager beavers out there wanting to do
their own importation. Here are links to the EPA and DOT so that they can do
their own research.
EPA Office, Mobile Sources
- Elise are for sale on Ebay, and in magazines. The response to our program has
been overwhelming. there are more Elise here than we imagined.
- Recently a US based automobile magazine did a chassis dyno comparison of
our Honda version Elise vs. a Lotus Sport 190. The Honda powertrain put out
about 25 more hp at the wheels, was easier to drive around town or in the
mountains whereas the Sport 190 was peaky, had a fun sound, but seemed to be
fouling plugs constantly. The Sport 190 powertrain has no emission
equipment. The Honda powertrain has catalyst, OBDII and with VTEC runs very
clean at low speeds with nearly 30 miles per gallon on the EPA City fuel
economy test. The complete article and data will be published in a
- Can we supply the conversion components as a kit to individual owners to do
at home? It's possible to do this, but at this point not practical as the
conversion requires modification to the chassis, cutting, drill, tap,
welding. At some point we will provide the kit, but most likely only to
installing dealers. In this way we can train, support and nurture someone
competent who is doing more than one installation. We are now preparing an
assembly manual and procedures for a dealer in Japan and several dealers in
- Can owners supply their own Honda powertrain? This is possible, but for
now we are staying away from it for practical reasons. The powertrain we use
is completely new, prepared to exactly the specifications we require. There
are no doubts about the quality or completeness of these units. Usually,
owners wanting to supply their own powertrain are trying to save money.
That's okay, except from our point of view it leads to an inferior end
result with difficulties in the process. If you have a special engine you
want to use, please talk with us about it.
- How about the S2000 and new Integra 2.0 liter? These engines are a
possibility in the future. We have already been studying the specifications
and engineering to make the installation. However, for now the B18C /
Type R is the most appropriate powertrain. It's been fully developed by
Honda for durable high output, it's been very successful in racing and it's
a well known powertrain for additional tuning. The B18C is capable of being
boosted to 230 - 250 hp without compromising the durability. The S2000
engine is front engine / rear drive so there are additional engineering
adaptations. The new 2.0 RS-X engine, is new and not easily available at
this time and there are some new features that would have to be adapted to
our installation. In time Honda will develop a Type R version of this
engine, maybe a year.
- Super charging or Turbo charging the B18C? This is possible. You're
welcome to do it, at home. We're not doing supercharging or turbo charging
on our cars. To ask about it before having your Elise with Honda
powertrain, would seem that there's no understanding of 200+ hp in a 1700 lb
car sports car.
- Specification of the Lotus Elise - Please refer to the Lotus UK web
- Spare parts - For the Lotus parts they're not a problem and are readily
available through Lotus US or Lotus UK. We have some excellent sources in
Europe as well.
- Servicing the Honda powertrain - Any Honda or Acura authorized service
will be able to service the powertrain.
- Servicing the Honda powertrain installation - We have a stock of spare
parts for this area and we are drafting a supplemental workshop manual that
will cover the areas linking the Honda powertrain with the Elise chassis,
especially the electrical.
- Air conditioning? This is possible. It's necessary to start with an Elise
originally equipped with A/C.
- What about the removed Rover engine, gear box, etc.? We have some contacts
in Europe and Japan who sometimes need these engines. We can refer you to
- Warranty - We don't believe the Elise is covered by a warranty in the US.
Our Honda powertrain is entirely new components built to our specifications.
There should not be any problems with these units. We are not providing a
written warranty for the conversion.
Sincerely, Management Elise - Honda Program