One of the firm's oldest cars influences its newest.
Just 130 examples are planned for the upcoming Lotus Evija, the all-electric 2,000 horsepower hypercar. It's unlike any previous Lotus for one main and very obvious reason. Any vehicle, hypercar or not, with a battery-electric powertrain instead of a combustion engine is going to sound very different. The reality is that it'll have almost no sound at all, something that's unacceptable for safety reasons and car fans in general. But this also creates a very unique opportunity to create from scratch a vehicle's sound.
Lotus didn't pass up this chance for the Evija, so it recruited award-winning music producer Patrick Patrikios to handle the task. Patrikios has significant music industry experience working writing and producing music for Olly Murs and Britney Spears, to name a few. He's also a serious Lotus fan and counts the original Esprit as his favorite.
Working on the Evija project was an equal challenge and dream come true. "We wanted to create a soundscape for the Evija that was recognizably and distinctively Lotus," said Patrick. "I sat with the development team at Hethel and discussed what that should be. We wanted something intrinsically connected to Lotus so we could set an audio blueprint for its future electric cars."
The idea of using an iconic Lotus as a starting point made complete sense. The Type 49 was the Formula 1 race car designed by none other than Lotus founder Colin Chapman for the 1967 racing season and was powered by a Cosworth-Ford-supplied V8. Jim Clark drove it for the inaugural season and it had one of the most splendid engine sounds Patrikios was intent on recreating.
"There's a purity to that V8, a raw edge and an emotion that stirs something in your soul, just like the best songs," he added. The job began with a Type 49 recording that was uploaded to a computer and then digitally manipulated. The engine note was slowed down to create a similar frequency to the natural sound of the Evija's all-electric drivetrain.
"I adjusted the replay speeds and digital filtering of the Type 49 to generate a soundscape for the Evija - it was a very organic process," said Patrick. "We all wanted something to spark an emotional connection between car and driver." The final result is a "sound from one of the most iconic Lotus race cars of all time" being transferred to its newest creation.
This isn't the first time an EV has emulated the soundtrack of an ICE car, though, as Porsche pulled the same stunt with the Taycan. Maybe future EVs won't all sound all.