Iconic British sports car brand Lotus will ditch petrol power and skip hybrid technology in favour of an all-electric future, CEO Phil Popham has said.
Majority owned by Chinese company Geely (which acquired Swedish brand Volvo in 2010) since 2017, Lotus has had a hand in electric vehicles for going on 14 years, when it first licensed technology and contracted to Tesla in 2006 for the first generation Roadster.
More recently it has produced the Lotus Evija, a top-end electric hypercar said to cost £2.4million ($A4.4 million) a piece, 130 of which will ever be built.
In an interview with Autocar, Popham has now hinted that Lotus’ next production vehicle will be the last ever to be built with an internal combustion engine.
After that, Lotus will turn to a fully electric future, skipped transitional hybrids as it embraces the unique torque and dynamics that electric vehicles can offer high-end sports vehicle design.
“One thing we do believe in is the future of battery electric vehicles, and our intention is to offer BEV on our products in future,” Popham told Autocar.
“BEV is really well suited to sports cars – the torque characteristics, the weight distribution, design and flexibility of dynamics. For me it all leads to BEV as the ultimate technology for sports cars.”
Popham also elaborated on the reasoning behind skipping hybrid technology, saying that, “One of the challenges of a hybrid is you carry a small engine as well as batteries and electric motors, which goes against the philosophy of sports cars, which have a tight package.
“You want to minimise weight and maximise performance and spread weight in the right places to get the right dynamics. So hybrids do present a challenge.”
Instead, going all-electric will give Lotus the advantage of more flexible design.
“The other thing with EV sports cars is distribution of weight. Batteries are flexible, you aren’t trying to build a car around some big componentry such as gearboxes and engines, so that gives you some flexibility,” Popham was quoted as saying.
According to Autocar, we will first see an all-electric aimed at the lower end of the sports car market from Lotus in 2022.
However, Autocar reports that this model would sit above the marque’s usual £45,000-£85,000 ($A82,500-$A155,800 converted) price range in order to optimise profits and meet a more desirable position in the market.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.