“Evija is our new calling card,” said Lotus CEO Phil Popham, on revealing the £2 million electric hypercar at an event in London. The first car that Lotus has launched for over 10 years, it sets the scene to move the Geely-owned company forward in an electric world.
Making its debut in London tonight, it promises hypercar performance with a target power output of some 2,000ps, zero to 62mph in under three seconds and a top speed of 200mph. The sports car weighs as little as 1,680kg, due largely to the lightweight carbon fiber monocoque structure, for an impressive pure electric driving range of 250 miles.
Priced from £1.7m (roughly $2.1m plus duties and taxes), the Evija is a halo product for Lotus; it is the marque’s first hypercar and inaugural all-electric model. What’s more, the Evija is the first completely new car to be developed under the tenure of the Chinese car giant and owner of Volvo and Polestar, Geely.
The name means “the first in existence” – a nod to the 71-year-old British brand’s reputation for pioneering technology with road and race cars. The aim is to do something similar with this Evija e-hypercar. Lotus cars are generally quite spectacular to drive – they offer a pretty raw experience – so the anticipation here is for an outstanding yet electrified driving experience on tarmac and track.
Crucially, the car we see here signals the start of a new visual theme for Lotus. Design largely follows performance – the marque’s philosophy is centered on stripping the car of unnecessary decoration and for all elements to be functional. This is a theme we see with he Evija but with an added dose of visual drama. For instance, the Venturi tunnel pierces each rear quarter to optimize air flow by directing it through the bodyshell, aiding the delivery to the rear of the car, which in turn counteracts the low pressure behind the car to reduce drag.
Moreover, the Venturi effect inside the tunnels pulls air through the rear wheel arch louvres, maintaining air quality in the diffuser. At the rear the tunnels are framed with red LEDs for a light signature that resembles the afterburners on a fighter jet when lit at night. Then, an LED hidden within each tunnel illuminates the interior. The theatrical graphic effect signifies electric performance.
Design director, Russell Carr, explains the creative process: “We studied how Le Mans race cars use air flow creatively to go over, under and around the vehicle, but also through it. This concept of ‘porosity’ is key to the Evija and has enabled us to create a timeless design with exceptional amounts of downforce.”
Another interesting feature is the bi-plane front splitter. Designed in three sections, the larger central area provides air to cool the battery pack, which is mid-mounted behind the two seats, while the air channeled through the two smaller outer sections cools the front e-axle. With its square front-central section and two side wings, it is also a nice little nod to the Type 72, the Colin Chapman and Maurice Philippe-designed 1970s Formula 1 car.
The Evija is the first Lotus road car to feature a one-piece carbon fiber monocoque chassis which assists the low weight target. Williams Advanced Engineering, the British firm known for its Formula 1 and Formula E work, has helped develop the advanced electric powertrain. Here the battery pack supplies energy directly to four powerful e-motors with Lotus claiming the system to be the lightest, most energy dense, electric power package fitted to a series production road car.
“Every element of the Evija has been meticulously analyzed and validated,” says Matt Windle, executive director of sports car engineering at Lotus. “Precision engineering is nothing without human engagement, and that’s why technology with soul is the benchmark for this and every Lotus.”
The Evija joins the Lotus range which includes the Elise, Exige and Evora sports cars as the marque’s premium product. Production will be limited to no more than 130 cars to maintain a sense of exclusivity but also honor the car’s project codename, Type 130. Production will begin next year at the company’s home in Hethel near the historic city of Norwich, UK.
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“The Evija will re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage. It will also pave the way for further visionary models,” offers Lotus chief executive officer, Phil Popham, at the reveal.
He says the car represents a significant moment in the history of Lotus. “The Evija is a true Lotus in every sense – it has been developed with an unwavering passion to push boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and to apply ground-breaking technologies.”