This is What Lotus is Planning For The Next 10 Years
The company’s first SUV and a new Esprit are just around the cornerby Ciprian Florea, on
Lotus was in big trouble a few years ago, to the point where it almost went bankrupt. Luckily, Chinese automaker Geely purchased the British company from Proton in 2017 and it has taken important steps to save it. Although the current lineup includes three sports cars originally launched between 1996 and 2008, Lotus is planning a big expansion during the next decade.
Getting back on track with the Evija
Not yet available in physical form as of April 2020, the Lotus Evija is being prepared for production and it seems that it will influence all future models from the brand. An all-electric hypercar packing 2,000 horsepower, the Evija is a revolutionary design not only for Lotus, but for the supercar industry too. Powered by four electric motors rated at an incredible 1,970 horsepower and 1,254 pound-feet of torque, the Evija is supposed to hit 62 mph in less than three seconds, toward a top speed of over 200 mph.
It’s limited to only 130 units and pricing starts from around $2 million, so it’s not or everyone. However, it’s Lotus’ first production electric car, so all the technology behind it could be transferred in less expensive models, like successors to the Elise and Evora. But Lotus is also planning brand-new nameplates.
|Powertrain||Four electric motors|
|Battery||70 kWh battery pack|
|Torque||1,254 pound-feet of torque|
|Transmission||Four single-shift gearboxes|
|Power-to-Weight Ratio||1,174 horsepower - ton (estimate)|
|0 to 60 MPH||Less than three seconds|
|Top Speed||Over 200 mph|
|Electric range||250 miles (estimate)|
A Lotus-badged SUV has been in the rumor mills for years now. We’ve already seen reports about it and we even know a bit about its exterior design thanks to leaked prototype sketches. Newer reports say that the crossover will be aimed at the Porsche Macan. This means that it won’t be bigger than compact SUV and it will most likely be a powerful and agile hauler. We don’t know much about its drivetrain, but rumor has it Lotus is building it on underpinnings sourced from Volvo. The Swedish company is also under Geely control, so it’s natural for two brands to share technology. And this is good news for Lotus, as Volvo now uses a state-of-the-art platform that accepts every type of drivetrain, from gasoline and diesel to hybrid and fully electric.
Discontinued in 2004 after nearly 30 years on the market, the Esprit is rumored to make a comeback this decade. Lotus actually planned a new Esprit a decade ago, when it unveiled a concept car at the Paris Motor Show. However, the project was shelved in 2014 due to Lotus’ financial position at the time. The Esprit was supposed to be a more expensive and upscale sports car, a concept that the company wasn’t able to back up financially a few years ago.
It seems that the Esprit is finally back on the table, but this time around as a hybrid. Recent rumors suggest that Lotus wants to pair a revised version of its Toyota-sourced V-6 gasoline engine to an electric motor made by Volvo. Total output would reach around 500 horsepower, more than any other Lotus you can buy right now.
The Esprit nameplate goes back to 1976. The sports car was revised in 1978 and 1981, and then redesigned from the group up in 1987. One final iteration was launched in 1993 and kept in production until 2004.
Lotus is going global and will add more dealers in the U.S.
Lotus is currently having issues selling most of its vehicles in the United States. The Elise and the Exige are no longer legal here due to safety concerns, so the Evora remains the only Lotus you can actually buy in North America. But this will change soon, as all the upcoming models are designed to comply with global safety and emission rules. The SUV, the Esprit, and next-gen variants of the Elise and Evora will be eligible for all major markets in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
What’s more, Lotus is planning to expand its American dealer network, which is currently restricted to only 41 stores. "While the Elise is no longer available new in the American market, we have a very exciting product plan in the pipeline and everything on it will be globally available," Geoff Dowding, the company’s executive sales director, told Autoblog.