In a true paradigm shift for the brand, Lotus has simultaneously abandoned internal combustion engines and embraced SUVs in one fell swoop. Backed by Chinese automaker Geely, the storied British marque is now moving toward electrification at racing speeds. All previous Lotus vehicles have been either two-door convertible or mid-engined sports cars, largely influenced by its exploits on the race tracks of Formula 1.
Now, faced with the seemingly inevitable reality of electric vehicles as a mainstream choice, Lotus is pivoting to meet future demand. Two of the forthcoming models will be SUVs, with a four-door coupe and sports car in the works as well. These new models are separate and on top of the previous Evija hypercar.
The Evija hypercar is only the first electric step for Lotus
Lotus has been working on an all-electric hypercar called the Evija for quite some time now. Ironically, market leader Tesla used the company’s Elise as the foundation for its first electric Roadster product. Elon Musk even sent one into space during a mission for his other company Space X. Now Lotus is pursuing a full lineup of electrified offerings to supplement the Evija.
“The development of the brand’s new premium lifestyle vehicles will take place on the Lotus Premium architecture, one of the four new vehicle platforms announced at the Driving Tomorrow global strategy conference in April,” said a spokesperson for Lotus, per the website Electrek.co. “The Premium architecture supports a wheelbase range from 2,889mm-3,100mm and could be further expanded in the future. It supports the development of all types of passenger vehicles from C+ to E segments. Using 92-120kWh batteries, it is compatible with the industry’s most advanced 800-volt high-speed EV charging system. Products developed on this platform will be capable of 0-100km/h acceleration in under three seconds.”
Lotus and Nio Inc. are looking to partner on intelligent EVs
According to Bloomberg, Lotus Technology has just signed with Nio Capital “to explore collaboration in areas including high-end intelligent EVs.” Using the new Lotus Premium architecture, the company plans to start with an SUV called Type 132 that will debut in 2022. The year after, it will launch a new four-door coupe with the codename Type 133. The second phase of EV development will commence with the Type 134 SUV in 2025, followed by an all-new electric sports car in 2026, called the Type 135.
The Emira will be the last internal combustion car from Hethel
Lotus Technology just broke ground on a new location in Wuhan, China, with an estimated production capacity of 150,000 electric vehicles. According to Bloomberg, the company plans to continue production at both UK factories in the near term as well. Given those facts, it appears that the Emira will be the last in a long line of gasoline-powered sports cars from the legendary plant in Hethel, England.
Since the days of founder Colin Chapman, Lotus has been driven by innovation. The next electric chapter is only a logical next step for the company. It will surely yield cars, and now SUVs, that are a blast to drive. The sound of its many decades of internal combustion engines will be missed, however.