Colin Chapman's philosophy will live on, despite electrification.
When it was announced that Lotus would be turning to electrification, everyone immediately groaned internally. The company's founder, Colin Chapman, adhered to a simple philosophy of simplification and lightweight construction, and electric vehicles are astoundingly heavy. Sure, it still aims to capture some of that magic with the combustion-powered Lotus Emira, but four new EVs are coming, the first of which is called the Eletre and is an SUV. Now SUVs are heavy in general, and adding a battery pack does nothing to alleviate the problem, but as it turns out, Lotus will remain true to its founder's principles. According to managing director Matt Windle, the car will weigh "just under two tonnes."
For reference, two tonnes translates to 4,409.25 pounds. That isn't exactly a featherweight figure, but it's particularly astonishing when you consider that the latest Bentley SUV, the ultra-luxurious Bentayga EWB, weighs a scandalous 5,542 lbs. So how will this remarkable feat of engineering be achieved?
"It's not just in the chassis," says Windle. "An [interior] wool woven mix is about half the weight of leather. Holes are also all through the car, in the wheel arches and the bonnet [...] As Chapman said, 'nothing is as light as a hole.'"
Naturally, this weight figure could change depending "on how you spec it - if everybody has it loaded, it's more."
With such a low curb weight figure, the Lotus ambition of achieving 0-62 mph in "less than three seconds" sounds a lot more feasible, and achieving a top speed of around 161 mph. The British automaker is also targeting a driving range of around 373 miles on the WLTP cycle, along with the ability to recoup 248 miles of range on a 350-kilowatt charger. We are yet to see any spy shots and the SUV is only expected to go into production later this year, but if Lotus can stick to its weight goals, it will truly be bringing the brand into the future while simultaneously honoring its illustrious past. Fingers crossed.