Lotus prepares for electric only future

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The British brand will make one more petrol model before switching to a range of fully electric sports cars

Norfolk-based sports-car manufacturer Lotus is preparing for a shock ditching of internal-combustion power in favour of pure-electric drive in all of its models.

Speaking exclusively to DrivingElectric’s sister title Auto Express, Lotus CEO Phil Popham suggested that the brand won’t bother with a more gradual electrification switch via hybrids, instead using its forthcoming Evija electric hypercar as a precedent. “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,” he said.

“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.”

In explaining Lotus’ avoidance of hybrid technology in future, Popham explained that it doesn’t quite match up with Lotus’ famous philosophy of lightness: “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.”

Electric cars aren’t exactly renowned for being featherweight, but Popham suggested that greater freedoms with weight distribution are key. “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,” he said.

This new direction is backed financially by Lotus’ parent company Geely, which bought the brand in 2017. Popham suggested that “the money that’s going into product development is something we could never, ever afford to do on our own if we hadn’t got the ambitious owner that we have.”

James Howe

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