Your next Lotus probably won't have a Toyota engine
It's been a long time since British sports car manufacturer Lotus produced its own engine. The current Evora, for example, uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine originally derived from the Toyota Camry. These may sound like humble origins for a sports car engine, but Lotus has supercharged the V6 and tuned it up to 416 horsepower in the 2020 Evora GT, giving the car a 0-60 mph time of just 3.8 seconds.
The partnership has worked out well for both companies but a recent announcement by Volvo and parent company Geely (owners of Lotus) could spell the end of Toyota-powered Lotus models. Volvo Cars and Geely have announced a plan to merge their existing combustion engine operations into a new, standalone business, allowing Volvo to focus on developing its upcoming electric drivetrains.
By 2025, Volvo expects half of its sales to be electric vehicles while the other half will be hybrid, supplied by this new standalone unit. In order to reach this goal, Volvo needs to put all of its attention on developing its EV drivetrains and spinning off combustion engine production into its own entity. So, how does this impact Lotus? These combustion engines and hybrid powertrains will be available to all of the brands within the Geely portfolio including Geely Auto, Proton, Lotus, LEVC, Lynk & Co, as well as other third-party manufacturers.
In the announcement, Geely did not say if the new engine supplier would continue to build the same motors found in current Volvo products, or if a new engine is on the way. Volvo currently builds a 2.0-liter twin-charged four-cylinder producing up to 316 horsepower on its own or up to 415 horsepower with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, which sounds like the ideal mill for a future Lotus sports car.
If Lotus is allowed to work its magic on Volvo's 2.0-liter engine, it could result in some spectacular sports cars, though no announcement has been made on when we would see the first Volvo-powered Lotus. Geely says this new restructuring won't cause any reductions in its workforce. In fact, the new engine business will require around 3,000 employees from Volvo Cars and around 5,000 employees from Geely's combustion engine operations.