Lotus says dynamic and durability testing of its Evora 414E extended-range hybrid model is under way at its headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, U.K.

The series-hybrid sports car employs two electric motors to drive the rear wheels, with a 1.2L 3-cyl. internal-combustion engine onboard to drive the generator to either charge the battery pack or provide electricity to the drive motors through a 7-speed transmission, complete with paddle shifting.

The IC engine can run on gasoline or alternative fuels such as methanol and ethanol.

The car’s battery pack is good for up to 30 miles (48 km) between charges, while the IC motor extends the range to 300 miles (480 km). The hybrid Evora is targeted at 55 g/km of carbon-dioxide emissions based on the Northern European Driving Cycle.

The powertrain is rated at 408 hp and provides a whopping 738 lb.-ft. (1,000 Nm) of torque, Lotus says, which should be good enough for 0-60 mph (97 km/h) sprints of about 4 seconds. Top speed is rated at 130 mph (209 km/h).

“The Evora S has 400 Nm (295 lb.-ft.) of torque, which in such a lightweight car is already a healthy figure,” Simon Corbett, principal vehicle dynamics test and development engineer for Lotus Engineering, says in a statement. “But the Evora 414E has two and a half times that amount. The acceleration sensation is almost indescribable; the surge of torque is like an ocean wave.”

The hybrid-car project is part of the REEVolution consortium funded by the U.K.’s Technology Strategy Board.

Lotus unveiled the Evora 414E at the 2010 Geneva auto show. More recently, the auto maker has been the subject of sale rumors, following the sale of parent Malaysia-based Proton to investor DRB-Hicom earlier this year.

That transaction has put the brakes, at least temporarily, on a plan to expand Lotus’ lineup with five new models unveiled at the Paris auto show in 2011.

Lotus says it is beginning testing of the hybrid, shown in cutaway form at the recent Goodwood Festival of Speed in the U.K., ahead of schedule.