Looking at the past and future of Lotus Sportscars

As the Giltrap Group announce their representation of Lotus cars in New Zealand, we look at where the brand has come from and learn more about their very ambitious plans for the future

Lotus’s future is fully electric, with the first EV to be the beautiful Evija hypercar capable of sub 3 second 0-100km/h time and more than 320km/h top speed.

You can’t talk about Lotus’ future, without paying homage to their past. And specifically to their Founder, Colin Chapman, the two go hand in hand and Chapman was well known as brilliant and unyielding in equal measures. So intrinsically linked to the vehicle’s design and engineering for much of the brand’s formative years his ideals still resonate as the brand looks to the next chapter.

A talented engineer with an unbreakable passion for motorsport and astute head for business, Chapman’s designs were among motorsport’s most successful cars of their era and some of the most desired road cars too.

In fact, the legacy of Chapman's most creative engineering can still be seen in Formula 1 today. Lotus cars pioneered the use of the monocoque chassis to improve strength and safety, increase rigidity and cut weight. Building F1 cars from advanced materials such as carbon fibre was also a Lotus innovation under Chapman, as was the integration of computer-controlled ‘active’ component systems, for example, on the suspension.

Chapman’s road cars were also benchmark performers, from the iconic Lotus VI and Lotus VII – a design Chapman sold to Caterham who successfully build and sell to this day – to the gorgeous Elan and the enduring boxy goodness of the Lotus Esprit supercar.

With taut, athletic form, proportions and road presence far greater than its size, the Lotus Elise has been another design icon for Lotus. Arguably the purest useable sports car on sale remains one of the great driving experiences available at any price and, true to the Chapman ideal of ‘adding lightness’ the Elise delivers a potent power-to-weight ratio.

It’s perhaps poignant that the brand’s largest-selling model also was the base vehicle that enabled Electric Vehicle giant, Tesla’s meteoric rise by supplying its lightweight chassis to Tesla for their original Roadster. Like Tesla, the future of Lotus will too be fully electric and it’s planned to introduce electrification rapidly.

Lotus is unwavering in its objectives and direction for the future. In the brand’s recently outlined Vision80 plan, which concludes in time for their 80th anniversary in 2028, Lotus confirms the exciting 2022 Emira will be the brand’s final internal combustion engine vehicle. Every model from there will be electric.

Launching at the same time as Emira will be the Evija EV hypercar. At the heart of the Evija is an ultra-advanced all-electric powertrain. It has been developed by technical partner Williams Advanced Engineering, famed for success in motorsport, from Formula One to electrifying the first four seasons of Formula E.

The battery pack is mid-mounted immediately behind the two seats and supplies energy directly to four powerful e-motors.

This highly efficient system is the lightest, most energy dense, electric power package ever fitted to a road car. With a target weight of just 1,680 kg, it will be the lightest pure electric hypercar ever to go into series production.

Engineered for precise and sustained performance, the Evija has five driving modes – Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track. It can race from 0-62 mph (0-100 km/h) in under three seconds and accelerate to a top speed of more than 200 mph (0-320 km/h).

Following those models Lotus have also confirmed 2 SUVs and a sports sedan and sports coupe. In 2022, Lotus will debut their first ever SUV codenamed Type 132 that will target the executive segment. It will be followed in 2023 by a four-door coupe, Type 133, and in 2025 by Type 134, a new large SUV. This trio will be joined in 2026 by an all-new electric sports car, Type 135.

All the while the brand, now owned by the fastest growing Chinese automaker, Geely, will start production of a new global technology headquarters to be completed in 2024. The expansive plant and operations hub will manufacture Lotus electric vehicles for global markets.

It’s come a very long way but remains true to the ideals Graham Chapman instilled into the Lotus DNA, to continuously innovate, to boldly differentiate from competitors and to put driver engagement at the heart of every vehicle.

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