Here’s Why the Evija Supercar Will Save Lotus
It could bring in the money Lotus so desperately needs right nowby Ciprian Florea, on
Lotus just unveiled the Evija, and it set some serious benchmark for itself. Its first-ever supercar, the Evija is also the first all-electric production vehicle powered by electricity alone. On top of that, Lotus claims that it will become the world’s most powerful production car with an output of 2,000 PS, which converts to an unbelievable 1,972 horsepower. Lotus also promises a 250-mile range and charging times of only nine minutes. Many claim that Lotus made a mistake with this car, but the Evija could be the vehicle that saves the British brand financially.
The fabulous nine-minute charging time will be possible only when these hyper chargers will become available
The Evija may be an amazing supercar on paper, but the lack of tested performance numbers sparked some criticism from enthusiasts. The fact that Lotus launched the Evija with "target" figures instead of rear-world numbers doesn’t help either.
So what are people complaining about?
First up, it’s the insane charging time that Lotus claims it can achieve with the Evija. The Brits say that the 70-kWh battery will be fully rechargeable in just nine minutes. No, that’s not a typo. While most electric cars take hours to fully charge, the Evija will need only nine minutes. However, there’s a catch. In Lotus’ own words, this will happen with an 800-kW charger that "are not yet commercially available." So this fabulous nine-minute charging time will be possible only when these hyper chargers will become available.
|Level One 1.4 kW||Level 2 13.4 kW|
|Audi E-Tron||25 Hours||10 Hours|
|BMW i3 (90 ah)||23||4.5|
|Tesla Model S||71.5||6.5|
The "under three seconds" time to 62 mph is too vague and somewhat disappointing for a vehicle with almost 2,000 horsepower
When will it happen? Well, it’s difficult to tell. What we do know for a fact is that some companies, including BMW, are working on superchargers with a 450-kW capacity. This is a massive improvement compared to Tesla’s 145-kW superchargers, but it’s nowhere near the 800-kW rating mentioned by Lotus. The big problem here is that Lotus didn’t even say that it’s working on such a supercharger. These bold statements usually come with plans to develop a solution. If Lotus is waiting for someone else to do it, then yes, it deserves solid criticism.
Second, Lotus claims a 0-to-62 mph sprint in "under three seconds." That’s far from unrealistic given the Evija’s output, but the problem is that "under three seconds" is too vague and somewhat disappointing for a vehicle with almost 2,000 horsepower. We already have supercars that hit 60 mph in 2.5 or 2.4 seconds, and we already have access to electric cars that offers similar performance. The Tesla Model S, a full-blown sedan, hits the benchmark in 2.4 seconds in Ludicrous Mode, while the Nio EP9 does the same in around 2.6 seconds. It’s pretty obvious that "under three seconds" won’t do. Because "under three seconds" usually means 2.9 or, at best, 2.8 seconds. That’s not exactly impressive with almost 2,000 horsepower under the belt.
The Evija is considered by a few people a mistake for being radically different than Lotus' previous cars
Third, the Evija comes with an unconvincing top speed estimate. Lotus claims that it will blow past 200 mph, but just the "under three seconds" claim, it doesn’t mean that it will go much beyond that point. Given that Lotus didn’t pick a higher round number, it’s safe to say that it won’t do much more than 200 mph. My guess is that it will stop before 210 mph. That’s not a bad benchmark for an electric car, but it’s been done. The Nio EP9, for instance, hits 217 mph, so the Evija won’t break any records.
Finally, the Evija is considered by a few people a mistake for being radically different than Lotus’ previous cars. Lotus is by tradition a provider of relatively affordable sports cars. The Elise, for instance, starts from under £50,000 (about $62,200 as of July 2018), while the Evora comes in at almost £80,000 (around $99,500). The Evija will cost £1.7 million (about $2.1 million). That’s the price of 34 Elise models or 21 Evoras. Needless to say, the Evija is not for the average Joe. The usual Lotus customers won’t afford to buy this supercar, and even if they would, some might not even get the chance to purchase it, as the 130 planned units will go to rich collectors and people who have exclusive access to such cars. Heck, the Evija is probably sold out as of this writing.
The Evija is still a spectacular super EV
What are the chances of finding a supercharger at the Nurburgring anyway
Despite all these complaints, I think that the Evija is a rather spectacular electric supercar. So what if it won’t be able to charge its battery from empty to full in just nine minutes? A few hours is good enough when compared to other EVs on the market. The Evija isn’t a daily driver, so unless you want to complete several laps on a race track in one day, you won’t really need a supercharger to top the battery in nine minutes. Granted, it would be nice to be able to do it given that the Evija’s battery lasts for a little more than seven minutes in Track mode, but what are the chances of finding a supercharger at the Nurburgring anyway?
As for the seemingly disappointing 0-to-62 mph sprint time, it doesn’t matter that much at this level. Sure, it would be great for the Evija to be able to hit the benchmark in 2.6 seconds or less, but if it doesn’t, it shouldn’t make it less spectacular in the eyes of Lotus and supercar fans the world over. The fact that the Evija is fully electric and boasts close to 2,000 horsepower is a big enough benchmark for the British firm. And it’s difficult to match as well.
|Name||Lotus Evija (Type 130)|
|Powertrain||Pure electric, 4WD|
|Power||The target is to be the most powerful production car in the world, at 2,000 PS|
|Battery power||70 kw/h / 2,000 kW|
|Torque||1,700 Nm with torque vectoring|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||Under three seconds|
|0-300 km/h (0-186 mph)||Under nine seconds|
|Max speed||In excess of 200 mph (320 km/h)|
|All-electric range (WLTP Combined)||Approximately 250 miles (400 km)|
|Charging time (350kW charger)||18 mins|
|Production run||Maximum of 130 cars|
|Overall dimensions (L/W/H)||4,459 / 2,000 / 1,122 mm|
|Price||£1.5m-2m + duties and taxes|
|Reservation process||£250k refundable deposit secures a production slot|
|Start of Production||2020|
Argue as much as you like, but you can't really hit 200 mph on a race track
The same goes for the Evija’s estimated top speed. Seriously now, how often will you hit 200 mph and have the chance to complain that you can’t get to 220 or 240 mph? You obviously can’t do that on the highway and argue as much as you like, but you can’t really hit 200 mph on a race track. Professional drivers would manage that on the long straights for Nurburgring or on the oval-shaped Nardo circuit, but you’ll race this car on open track days, which usually have moderate traffic.
But what about the Evija’s price point? That’s still a problem, right? Well, while I can agree that the Evija is far beyond the regular Lotus enthusiast when it comes to pricing, it’s not entirely tragic. If you think this through, you’ll realize that Lotus will make a whopping £221 million (around $275 million) from the Evija, not including the money it will charge for extra options. Sure, not all of it is pure revenue. The Brits still have to pay taxes and cover some of expensive that went into the Evija’s development, but it’s a lot of cash that can be used somewhere else. Where? Well, into research and development for future sports cars. The more affordable sports cars that you will be able to buy. The successors to the Elise and Evora and maybe even a track monster like the 3-Eleven. See? It’s not all bad news.
The Evija Will Save Lotus Financially
All the profits from the Evija will go toward the development of new, more affordable sports cars
A few years ago, Lotus was in big trouble financially. Sales were extremely low, and the company came close to bankruptcy. In 2014, Lotus appointed Jean-Marc Gales at the helm and the Luxembourg-born CEO managed to save the brand from going completely under. He outlined Lotus’ strategy to develop its first SUV and surely had something to do with the Evija as well. Gales was replaced by Phil Popham, for Jaguar Land Rover executive in 2018. The company is doing much better today, but it’s far from being carefree. With an aging lineup and limited presence on the U.S. market, Lotus might not become profitable very soon. But this is where the Evija comes in.
While it may not be a true Lotus with an affordable sticker and the appeal that Lotus enthusiasts are expecting from the brand, the Evija looks like the kind of car that will save a struggling company. It has ludicrous specs, it’s extremely expensive, and aimed at supercar collectors and rich folks. All the profits from the Evija, which will sell out in no time with only 130 units in production, will go toward development of new, more affordable sports cars that will replace the Elise and Evora.
Companies with similar strategies include Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, and Aston Martin
It’s part of a strategy that’s actually very common in the sports car industry. You build a highly expensive, highly exclusive supercars that bring in a ton of money to be used in other projects. Companies that do this include Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, and Aston Martin. And nearly all automakers have similar strategies with SUVs. Remember how the Porsche Cayenne received a lot of hate at first but it eventually saved the German company? You can hate the Cayenne with your entire being; it’s the SUV that enabled Porsche to continue to build cars like the 911, Boxster, and Cayman. No joke, if it weren’t for the Cayenne, you might not have been able to enjoy the latest 911.
It’s the same thing with the Evija. The supercar will bring Lotus the finances that it needs to keep making sports cars like the Elise and Evora. Granted, the upcoming SUV will play an important role here as well, but the Evija will bring big money home in a very short time.
The Lotus Evija is only the tip of the iceberg
The Evija will be converted into a track-only car at some point
I know it’s difficult to believe that an exclusive car limited to only 130 units will actually save Lotus, but the British firm might not stop here with the Evija. No automakers do, no matter how exclusive the nameplate is at first. All important hypercars from recent years sparked new versions. The LaFerrari was followed by the FXX K, while the McLaren P1 was followed by the P1 GTR. Heck, the P1 GTR itself was followed by a road-legal variant. The same goes for supercars like the McLaren Senna, the Lamborghini Aventador, and the Bugatti Chiron. At some point, they spawn new versions, whether special editions or track-only cars. Lotus will do the same with the Evija.
For two reasons:
First, let’s not forget that Lotus is a race-oriented carmaker. The company’s roots are heavily linked to motorsport, and all of its road cars have race-inspired elements. What’s more, every model in the current lineup had or still has a track-only version, prepared for either an FIA competition or a more restricted series. The Evija will be converted into a track-only car at some point. And guess what will happen: the track-only Evija will be even more exclusive and, more importantly, significantly more expensive. My bet is on £2.5 to £3 million ($3.1 to $3.7 million) sticker. It will sell like hotcakes, and it will bring a few more hundreds of millions into the company’s coffers.
The track-only Evija will be even more exclusive and significantly more expensive
Second, the Evija might be followed by a range of special-edition versions. The Elise for instance, spawned several variants, including three Cup models and a Sprint version. Likewise, the Evora was upgraded in Sport 410, GT430, and G410 Sport editions. Granted, an exclusive car like the Evija might not get so many versions, but Lotus has plenty of room based on what it offers with other nameplates. It could also take the Bugatti route and expand the Evija lineup with three or four limited-edition bespoke models built in five or 10 units each. The potential is huge here, as collectors would be willing to pay in excess of £3 million (more than $3.7 million) for a unique car.
All told, the Evija has the potential to bring at least £500 million (about $622 million) into the company’s coffers. That’s half a billion pounds and a lot of dough for a company this small.
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