Big changes are happening at Lotus.
As the British automaker's first attempt at an electric hypercar, the Lotus Evija is extremely impressive. Two electric motors combine to produce 1,972 horsepower and 1,253 lb-ft of torque, making the Evija the most powerful road car ever. Its reveal got everyone talking about Lotus again after the company was acquired by China's Geely in 2017.
With production limited to 130 examples and an eye-watering price tag of $2.1 million, the Lotus Evija will remain a dream car for most of us. We've known for a while, however, that Lotus is plotting a new, more affordable sports car to replace the Evora next year. And according to Auto Express, this will be the company's final combustion-powered car before Lotus embarks on a new electric era.
Speaking to Auto Express, Lotus CEO Phil Popham suggested the firm will skip hybrid technology and focus solely on fully electric sports cars in the future.
"One thing we do believe in is the future of battery electric vehicles, and our intention is to offer BEV on our products in future," said Popham in the interview. "BEV is really well suited to sports cars - the torque characteristics, the weight distribution, design and flexibility of dynamics. For me it all leads to BEV as the ultimate technology for sports cars.
Lotus' next-generation electric sports car is expected to arrive towards the end of 2022 with a starting price more reflective of its current sports car range. For reference, the Lotus Evora GT starts at $96,950.
As for why Lotus won't be utilizing hybrid technology before fully committing to EVs, Popham explained that hybrid powertrains would pose challenges for the next-generation Lotus sports cars.
"One of the challenges of a hybrid is you carry a small engine as well as batteries and electric motors, which goes against the philosophy of sports cars, which have a tight package," said Popham. "You want to minimize weight and maximize performance and spread weight in the right places to get the right dynamics. So hybrids do present a challenge."
Fully electric powertrains, on the other hand, give designers more freedom and flexibility than hybrid setups according to Popham.
"The other thing with EV sports cars, is the distribution of weight. Batteries are flexible, you aren't trying to build a car around some big componentry such as gearboxes and engines, so that gives you some flexibility," he said in the interview.
Beyond sports cars, Lotus is planning to expand its EV range into other segments such as sedans and GT cars. But what about the long-rumored Lotus SUV?
"We're not focusing on SUVs at the moment, but we are not discounting any segment: crossovers, sporting sedans, GTs. But what we have to do is say what makes it distinctly a Lotus," said Popham.