What would Colin Chapman think of EVs?
The Lotus Emira represents the end of an era while the Evija starts a whole new one for the storied UK marque. Lotus has certainly seen its fair share of ups and downs over the decades but things have finally stabilized thanks to Geely. The Chinese automaker purchased Lotus back in 2017. Those two new models are the result and there are plenty more to come, including an SUV.
But what would Lotus found Colin Chapman, if he were alive today, have to say about his company's plans to drop internal combustion engine technology in favor of an all-electric future? After all, he's the guy who famously said: "Simplify, then add lightness." Battery packs are anything but light.
The company's current boss, Matt Windle, is not only confident the upcoming Type 135, due in 2026, will more than deliver the performance goods, but also that Chapman himself would fully approve despite what many brand purists might assume.
"I know some people won't like it, but we've always been innovative and looked for the best solutions," he said. "There's a lot of references to what Colin Chapman would have made of it. He was pretty agnostic to powertrains; he just wanted the one that gave the best performance, and that's what we will do. These cars will be fun to drive and will be a premium product which moves Lotus into a different era."
Lightness is what mattered most to Chapman and now it's up to Lotus engineers to create workarounds to the challenges of heavy batteries. Fortunately, battery tech is rapidly improving as the industry moves towards solid-state batteries instead of the current lithium-ion. There's also an abundance of lightweight build materials like carbon fiber and aluminum alloys for other vehicle components like the body.
Lotus must surely recognize the opportunities here. It can continue being a chassis development and tuning industry leader and, at the same time, prove EVs don't necessarily have to be significantly heavier than gas-powered vehicles. Consider us excited to see what transpires.