Lotus kicks off revival with confirmation of electric hypercar

Since Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Lotus just over a year ago, there’s been very little detail in the way of an updated product roadmap for the British performance marque.

That changed on Tuesday at Auto Shanghai 2019 where Lotus confirmed that an electric hypercar is in the works and already at an advanced stage. A reveal of a concept will take place later this year in London.

A teaser shot provides a preview of the design, which naturally looks unlike any Lotus that has come before. There is a connection with the British firm’s older models, though. The car is code-named the Type 130, which continues a bloodline of groundbreaking cars launched by Lotus over the past seven decades.

Previous examples include the Type 14 (Elite, 1957), considered the world’s first production car with a monocoque structure made of composite materials; the Type 72, a multiple Formula 1 championship-winning race car; and the Type 111 (Elise, 1995), the world’s first production car with aluminium and bonded extrusion construction.

The electric hypercar is being developed to help restore Lotus’ image as a genuine alternative to Porsche and Ferrari. Most of its rivals don’t plan to have electric sports cars on offer until the middle of the next decade.

Lotus Hethel headquarters renovations

Lotus Hethel headquarters renovations

Fellow Geely brand Polestar is already developing high-performance EV tech, which Lotus could leverage to position itself as a technology leader among exotic brands. There’s also a newly minted partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering, which helped fellow British brand Aston Martin with development of the Rapide E electric sport sedan.

The Type 130 is expected to be extremely limited and most likely will come with a 7-figure price tag, thus making it a rival to electric hypercars like Rimac’s C_Two and the related Pininfarina Battista. An output of more than 1,000 horsepower is the target.

Geely is committed to Lotus and is reportedly spending as much as $2 billion on future developments, including potentially increasing its stake in the British firm from the current 51 percent. The remainder is owned by Malaysia’s Etika Automotive.

Beyond the electric hypercar, there are plans to launch a new sports car next year based on a heavily updated version of Lotus’ current aluminum sports car platform. At least one SUV is also in the pipeline to help the brand attract a more general audience.

Lotus also used the Shanghai auto show to unveil an Evora GT4 race car concept. For more of our coverage from Shanghai, head to our dedicated hub.


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