After that, Lotus will turn its gaze to SUVs, electrification, and autonomy.
The British-born, Geely-owned Lotus Cars is clawing its way back to relevance, with product plans that go far beyond its forthcoming $2.1-million electric Evija hypercar with its 1,973 horsepower and mind-bending performance envelope. Among the plans, at the opposite end of the price spectrum from the Evija, is a yet-unnamed entry-level model that could replace the Lotus Evora as the marque's most practical, livable road car.
That car, which will borrow some design cues from the Evija hypercar, will be powered by a gasoline-fueled internal combustion engine - and it could be the company's last gas-powered car.
That's according to Bloomberg, which reports that the new entry-level sports car will be priced between £55,000 and £100,000 - about $67,000 and $123,000 US. Those figures come straight from CEO Phil Popham, who suggested in his Bloomberg interview that Lotus will lean heavily on its Chinese owner, Geely.
"Our focus now is on sports cars but we do think the brand has the potential to move into other segments," Popham said, citing sedans, crossovers, and SUVs as potential future segments for the marque. "And Geely has expertise in areas such as electrification and autonomous driving."
SUVs? Electrification? Autonomy? Is this the end of Lotus as we know it?
Hopefully not. Earlier in the year, Lotus engineering boss Matt Windle remarked that no matter what, the company would "stay true" to its founding principles of aerodynamics, lightweight construction, and superb handling. But with its electrification push, the brand is plowing into unknown territory, and electric powertrains run counter to Lotus's core philosophy: "simplify, then add lightness." Electric powertrains are simple enough, but lithium-ion batteries are, in fact, quite heavy.
The new car will constitute part of an effort from Lotus to increase its annual sales volume, from roughly 1,600 units today to some 5,000 units in the near future. The entry-level, daily-usable sports car will be unveiled sometime between now and early 2021.