It is still another five years away, but Lotus has begun key engineering work on its fully electric sports car that is scheduled to be available in 2026.
As part of the brand’s transformation into higher volumes and a dramatic increase in product offerings, Lotus has split its business into low-volume and high-volume products.
In summary, Lotus offence into the EV segment over the course of five years will be:
- 2022 – SUV, E-segment, Type 132
- 2023 – 4-door coupe, E-segment, Type 133
- 2025 – SUV, D-segment, Type 134
These three will have much of its design, engineering and high-volume production in Wuhan, China
- 2026 – Sports car, Type 135, made in the UK
Yesterday, Lotus unveiled the new EV platform with a modular rear structure that was developed through Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture). Intended to be constructed with lightweight die-cast aluminium with multiple interchangeable components, the rear structure is designed to accommodate a single or dual electric motor drive unit (EDU) as well as up to three different sizes of battery packs.
The platform will most likely be used by Alpine, Renault’s performance car division, to replace their A110 mid-engine sports car, as the French automaker inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in January this year which includes joint development of an EV sports car with Lotus.
Called the Type 135, the “smallest” variation of the electric two-seater sports car will have a short wheelbase of just 2,470 mm (although much more than the current Elise at 2,300 mm) and a chest-type battery pack occupies the space where the mid-mounted engine and transmission .
A single-motor EDU, nestled behind the battery and in between the suspension arms, delivers a whopping 476 hp (350 kW), even more than the recently launched Lotus Emira V6.
A more powerful version of the two-seater Type 135 will see a 50% larger 12-module chest-type battery pack with an energy content of 99.6 kWh mated to a dual-motor EDU with a maximum output of 884 hp (650 kW). The wheelbase is also lengthened to at least 2,650 mm (longer than today’s Emira and Evora) to accommodate the battery pack.
The chest-type battery pack, where battery modules are vertically stacked, was first seen in the 2,000-hp Lotus Evija fully electric hypercar. Lotus says the mid-mounted power pack of the chest layout is ideal for sports cars to deliver the requirement of low overall ride height and low centre of gravity.
The third model variation of Type 135 will use utilise the long-wheelbase design to create a 2+2 cabin, but with the battery pack arranged in a more traditional “slab” placed beneath the chassis. Lotus is planning to have this Type 135 in 2+2 configuration to offer either outputs of 476 hp or 884 hp.
Apart from being used by Lotus as well as Alpine, this innovative mid-mounted rear-drive EV platform for sports cars is also planned to be made available to other clients through Lotus Engineering.