We already know that Lotus is going all-in on EVs, since the British marque already confirmed that the Emira will be its last pure internal combustion engine model. But now, we finally get to hear what those plans are, and let’s just say that they’re big – with four new Lotus EV model planned for the next five years, including two electric SUVs.
The EV frenzy will kick off with the much-rumoured E-segment SUV next year, codenamed Type 132. This will be followed by the Type 133 E-segment four-door coupe in 2023. A smaller D-segment SUV codenamed Type 134 will make its debut in 2025, and finally one year later in 2026, an all-new electric sports car, codenamed Type 135.
Lotus calls the first three (Type 132, 133, and 134) “premium lifestyle vehicles”, and they’ll be built upon the brand’s new premium architecture called “Evolution” – one of the four new vehicle platforms announced earlier this year.
The premium architecture supports wheelbases ranging from 2,889 mm to 3,100 mm (and could be expanded in the future), which means it’ll fit cars ranging from C+ to E segments – SUVs included. The platform will use batteries ranging from 92-120 kWh, and will be compatible with 800V high-speed charging. Lotus says that cars developed on this platform will be capable of a 0-100 km/h acceleration in under three seconds.
As for the Type 135, the new EV sports car will be built on the E-Sports architecture, jointly developed with Alpine. Not much has been said on the platform at the moment, but the company previously said that it’ll be “flexible and modular”, and will have the same weight targets as their latest ICE sports cars.
While the low-volume hypercars such as the all-new Evija will still be built in the company’s hometown in Hethel, UK, the three new premium models announced today will be built at the company’s upcoming factory in Wuhan, China that’s due to begin operations later this year.
Constructed at a cost of eight billion Chinese Yuan (approx RM5.1B), the Wuhan plant will serve as the company’s new “centre of excellence” for its premium lifestyle models, with an acreage of over 1 million square-metres, and has the capability to produce up to 150,000 vehicles a year.
The new plant includes a new test track with 16 corners, designed to accommodate vehicles driving at speeds of up to 230 km/h, and features intelligent systems where the test vehicles can be transported into workshops using autonomous driving technology without any human intervention.
The new site at Wuhan, China will also serve as the headquarters for Lotus Technology, a new division of Group Lotus co-funded by Chinese EV maker Nio and Zhejiang Geely Group that focuses on the development of EV technology, and integrating them into a new generation of lifestyle products.
“This is an important day in the transformation of the Lotus business and brand,” said Group Lotus CEO, Feng Qingfeng. “Lotus Technology will accelerate the innovation which has always been at the heart of the business.
“Together, the China and UK teams will empower our journey towards an expanded, intelligent and electric future, achieving the ambitions and goals that have been in the making for 73 years of the Lotus brand.”
Lotus Cars Managing Director, Matt Windle added: “Transforming Lotus from a UK sports car company to a truly global performance car company has always been at the core of Vision80. The launch of Lotus Technology is a major milestone on the road to making that a reality, while adhering to the unwavering Lotus principles of pure performance, efficiency, motorsport success and, above all, being ‘For the Drivers’.”