Lotus will unveil its all-new sports car next month.
Exciting times are ahead for Lotus. Next month, the British automaker will unveil the Emira, the first new Lotus sports car in more than ten years, to replace the aging Elise, Exige, and Evora. Ahead of its debut, the new lightweight sports car has reached an important development milestone. As part of a massive £100 million investment ($142 million) upgrading its UK factories in preparation for the next-generation sports car's arrival, the Lotus Emira has entered pre-production.
Two new production halls have been installed at the automaker's factory in Hethel, Norfolk, with one dedicated to producing the Emira that measures 130,000 square feet, more than two football fields.
All station gantries have been installed along with wheel alignment and headlamp aim equipment, a vehicle configuration and test system, monsoon water test booth, and a rolling road and fuel fill area. An all-new framing line has also been installed to build car bodies as part of the Emira pre-production.
"The move to a part-robotized production is the right one for Lotus as we launch the Emira. Everything is about repeatability and efficiency to drive quality. Our workforce is incredibly skilled, and robots help them to deliver the consistency we need at the volume we need it," said David Hewitt, Executive Director of Operations at Lotus. Our cars will remain 'Handmade in Hethel', though our people will be supported by new processes and technologies that will only enhance efficiency and build quality. It is a 'best of both worlds' solution."
The other new assembly hall is reserved for the Evija electric hypercar, which has completed prototype production before the final customer cars are built later this year. The Hethel site has also been upgraded with a new high-tech automated paint shop that will improve the paintwork quality.
The Lotus Emira will be revealed online on July 6 and make its public debut at the 2021 Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 8-11. Built on a new sports car platform known as Elemental, the Emira will be the last-ever combustion-powered Lotus as all new models will be electric by the end of the decade