Four new vehicle architectures, a technology roadmap, a fresh global retail identity and the name of an all-new car – yesterday we delivered a series of major news announcements about the ongoing transformation of the Lotus business and brand.
Matt Windle, Managing Director of Lotus Cars: “Our ongoing Vision80 plan to transform Lotus is on track. This year is a pivotal one for Lotus, particularly with our sports cars we reach the end of one era and begin another. The spirit and passion that gave the world the Elise, Exige and Evora will live on in the next generation of cars – cars like the all-new Lotus Emira.
Lotus Emira: making its world debut on 6 July
Lotus has confirmed more details of its all-new sports car, to date known only by its codename Type 131 and now confirmed to be the Lotus Emira. Pronounced ‘E-meer-a’, the word features in numerous ancient languages and often translates as ‘commander’ or ‘leader’. It’s highly appropriate as this is the exciting new sports car leading Lotus on a journey to a thrilling new future.
The Emira will be unveiled on Tuesday 6 July at the Lotus Advanced Performance Centre, Hethel, Emira’s production home, and will make its public dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 8-11 July.
Lotus has also confirmed that, contrary to media speculation, the car will not be a hybrid. The Emira will be powered by a choice of internal combustion engines – the last time Lotus will launch an ICE car – with an exciting new powertrain partnership. The additional powertrain option will be new to Lotus, highly efficient, use cutting edge technology and be tuned to help deliver that distinctive Lotus experience.
With a distinctive new sports car design influenced by the Lotus Evija hypercar, Emira marks the acceleration of the brand’s product-led offensive into a new era of contemporary design, highly efficient powertrains, and everyday usability coupled with explosive performance.
More details on the Lotus Emira will follow in July when the car is revealed.
Four new Lotus architectures to deliver thrilling new Lotus cars
The Emira is being built on one of four new Lotus architectures. Working collaboratively with colleagues in Europe and China, Lotus engineers have developed a dedicated family of structural platforms for the brand. Exclusive to Lotus within the Geely group but available to other OEMs through the Lotus Engineering consultancy, these four architectures will underpin the eagerly anticipated next generation of Lotus performance cars.
1) Sports car architecture: Referred to internally as the Elemental architecture, this is the platform on which the all-new Lotus Emira will be built. Flexible, lightweight and featuring the signature Lotus extruded aluminium technology, this sports car platform is a massive step-change technically. Every dimension is different to previous generations of Lotus sports cars.
2) Hypercar architecture: The Lotus Evija is the first vehicle to be built on this Extreme platform and goes into production later this year at Hethel. Despite travel restrictions limiting testing opportunities around the world, progress on the car has not stopped. Several thousand kilometres of engineering development and validation testing have taken place in the UK. Lotus is also working with an advanced simulator company, allowing the Evija team to run endless simulations in the virtual world. This enhances confidence in passing project milestones with real-world development vehicles and creates programme efficiencies.
James Hazlehurst is the lead dynamics engineer on the Evija and said the team has been focused on making this most extreme and unique of cars feel like a Lotus. James explained: “A key marker for any Lotus is the ’50-metre test’, where within the first 50 metres of driving any of our cars you can feel the immediacy of the steering response and the connection to the road. Damping that’s perfectly balanced between handling and ride comfort, and a powertrain that responds directly and proportionally to your throttle demand, are key elements of this. All of this should be before you’ve travelled faster than 30mph or above 0.1g acceleration in any direction.”
Evija owners will be the first Lotus customers to benefit from what3words (W3W) technology available on the car. W3W divides the world into 3 metre x 3 metre squares and gives each a unique combination of three words: a W3W address. For example, ‘hotspots.punters.race’ is the W3W address for the entrance to Lotus HQ at Hethel. The Lotus Emira will also benefit from this system, which is a far more accurate location system than the traditional postcode.
3) Premium architecture: The first ever truly global automotive architecture from Lotus, the Evolution platform will be the basis for an all-new range of lifestyle vehicles from the company. Building on the launch of the Emira, these cars will catapult Lotus into a new era of higher retail volumes and significant revenues. The architecture has been defined and designed in the UK, supported by collaborative work with teams in China, Sweden and Germany. It is ‘born British, raised globally’.
4) Electric sports car architecture: In January this year Lotus and Group Renault’s Alpine brand announced a new partnership. The Lotus Engineering consultancy is leading development work on a new vehicle platform – known internally as E-Sports – and from that will come new products for Lotus and Alpine.
Matt Windle commented: “The E-Sports architecture will be flexible and modular, and will generate an exciting new sports car for the Lotus brand, with contemporary styling, class-leading ride and handling, explosive performance and that unmistakable Lotus character – a pure dynamic experience that is ‘For The Drivers’. I have challenged our teams to target the same weight as our latest combustion engine sports cars.”