Lotus has been limping along for the last few years with occasional rehashes of its three core vehicles -- Elise, Evora and Exige. But now, Lotus has launched something that's wildly different from it – and everyone else’s - norm. It's the Lotus Evija electric hypercar.
Pronounced “E-vi-ya”, the name is derived from variations of Eve and means ‘the first in existence’, or ‘the living one’. It represents a dramatic departure from the usual day-to-day Lotus offering and is a proper moonshot, packing all manner of new technologies while aiming for stratospheric numbers that would fit right in with all the wild metal seen at every Geneva Motor Show.
Internally known as the Type 130, the new Lotus Evija combines several firsts for the British company into one wild shape. First of all, it’s the company’s first in-house all-electric car. (No, the Lotus Elise chassis provided to Tesla for its 2008 Roadster doesn’t count.) It’s also the company’s first hypercar, claiming a staggering (and provisional) 1,973 horsepower and 1,700Nm of torque. Perhaps more importantly, it’s the first all-new Lotus conceived entirely under the stewardship of new owners Geely Automotive, of China.
It’s not the first EV hypercar as it will square up to the likes of Rimac (you know, the one little Richard Hammond crashed) and the upcoming Pininfarina Battista, plus the next-gen Tesla Roadster – assuming that it does eventually hit the market.
The Evija styling is wild, incorporating some continuing Lotus themes but with an overall direction that’s far more adventurous than the company’s other products. The deep side sculpting is complex and stylised, as are the rounded, narrow quadrangle tail lights supported by a massive rear diffuser.
The bodywork has some neat party tricks, the most dramatic of which is the Venturi tunnel which pierces each rear quarter. Inspired by Le Mans race cars, they optimise air flow by directing it through the body shell.
Active aerodynamics allow for an F1-style DRS (drag reduction system) and there’s a deployable rear spoiler. There are no fixed side mirrors as little cameras deploy from the front fenders and another camera embedded in the rear of the roof provides the rear view.
Gone is the extruded, bonded aluminium architecture from the Elise/Exige line and the similar but unique Evora. In its place is a McLaren-like one-piece carbon fibre monocoque tub. Weight-wise, Lotus is targeting a curb tally of around 1,680kg (3,700 lbs), and the lightweight tub (just 129kg / 284lbs) contributes to that.
The battery is housed behind the seats, and feeds power to four individual 500hp motors, providing all-wheel drive and infinitely variable torque vectoring. With its five driving modes – Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track, the Evija will claw its way to 62mph in less than 3 seconds, says the company, with a top speed in excess of 200mph
The battery is a 70kW/h lithium-iron unit, providing a claimed 250 miles of range on the European test cycle and the ability to charge at 350kW – the highest currently available. That’d give an 80 per cent charge in 12 minutes and a full charge in 18 minutes – it’ll take longer for your coffee to go cold. When 800kW chargers become available, the battery will have the ability to utilise those and take just nine minutes to charge.
Handling is provided by spool-valve dampers, which are Multimatic units, but the wild part is that there are three dampers for each axle. Two are located at the corners and control the wheels, with the third mounted inboard to control what Lotus refers to as ‘heave’, which sounds preliminarily like a kind of pushrod anti-roll system, but we’ll have to learn more about it to be sure.
The interior looks to have been extrapolated straight from a concept car design sketch, with a quadrangular wheel, a floating centre console full of flush hexagonal buttons, and a dash that's a massive, freestanding spar spanning the car’s width. Some of it looks inspired by Lamborghini, but it certainly seems special.
Lotus claims they’ll limit production to just 130 units, matching the internal Type 130 vehicle designation and it’ll be built at the company’s Norfolk base in Hethel, U.K., although it’ll be interesting to learn more about the origins of its component parts.
Remember, Geely also owns Volvo (and its Polestar sub-brand) and Lynk & Co., and the Polestar 2 will be produced in China. The company and its subsidiary brands have steered a hard turn towards full-on electrification and as a result, there’s likely to be an economy of scale working in the Evija’s favour.
Production will commence in 2020. The company has priced the car as a mere £1.7m and a £250,000 deposit will secure yours. The order books are open so make the call today. Go on, you know you want to.