The Geely brand Lotus has published its electric strategy. Four new electric models are planned between 2022 and 2026, which will be produced at a new plant in China that is to open this year. The first of the models to come out will be an electric SUV.
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The British sports car brand is still referring to the SUV as “Type 132”. The electric car will be in the E-segment and will be presented in 2022. In 2023, the “Type 133” is then to be presented, which is a four-door coupé in the E-segment. In 2025, an electric D-segment SUV is to be shown, so far referred to as the “Type 134”. The “Type 135”, which will conclude in 2026, will then be an “all-new electric sports car”.
The four vehicles are based on the ‘Lotus Premium Architecture’, a fully electric vehicle platform. With a wheelbase of between 2.89 and 3.10 metres, it should enable vehicles from the C+ to E segments. The batteries – between 92 and 120 kWh in size – are to be designed for 800 volts and correspondingly high charging capacities. Lotus has not provided any more details about the power spectrum of the electric motors, but the vehicles should be able to accelerate to 100 km/h in less than three seconds – which speaks for an all-wheel-drive system with at least two electric motors.
These “exciting new Lotus lifestyle models”, as the four ranges are touted, are to be built at Lotus Technology’s new production facility in China. The all-electric Evija hypercar and the brand’s last internal combustion sports car, the Emira, are still made at Lotus’ traditional plant in Hethel, UK.
That the Chinese influence on Lotus is growing is not only shown by the China plant for the volume models. Lotus Technology is a new business unit of Group Lotus that will “accelerate innovation in batteries and energy management, electric motors, electronic control systems, intelligent driving, smart manufacturing and more” – in other words, develop the core elements of electric cars. Lotus Technology is currently establishing its global headquarters in Wuhan.
The plant, which is also being built in Wuhan, is to become the “global centre of excellence for Lotus’ premium lifestyle models”. The production facility, which costs the equivalent of around one billion euros, is to have a capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year and will also have its own test track.
Europe is not completely left out of the reorientation of the British brand: the development and production of the sports cars will continue to take place in Hethel, England and the Lotus Technology Innovation Centre in Raunheim, Germany, will also be involved in the development. The Lotus team in Great Britain will also coordinate worldwide sales.
Update 21 September 2021
A few weeks after Lotus presented its electric strategy, the Geely brand is now presenting a lightweight chassis developed as part of the LEVA project funded by the British government. The lightweight chassis will be integrated into Lotus’ new architecture for electric sports cars in the future. The new chassis is said to be around 37% lighter than the combustion counterpart ‘Emira’
Richard Moore, Lotus’s executive director of Engineering, explained: “Today’s EVs are heavy in comparison to their ICE equivalents, so the ARMD funding has helped Lotus to innovate earlier in the product cycle and develop a new vehicle architecture that targets lightweight and performance density from conception.”
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