Lotus, a company known for making nimble sports cars, is stepping outside of its comfort zone to develop a 2,000-horsepower electric hypercar named Evija. Battery technology is heavy, so the limited-edition coupe won't be a featherweight like the Elise, but the firm's chief engineer told Autoblog it will be imbued with Lotus-ness.
Keeping weight in check is easier said than done when you're dealing with four individual electric motors and a 70-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. Matt Windle, the man in charge of the company's research and development department, explained the widespread use of composite materials like carbon fiber helps offset the mass. He cited clever packaging as another weight-saving measure. The part the steering column is mounted to is also used as a ducting for the HVAC system, for example. "We try to combine many requirements into one part to keep the weight down," Windle said. All told, the Evija (pictured) tips the scale at about 3,700 pounds.
That's remarkably light for an electric hypercar, but it's heavier than any Lotus model in recent memory. And yet, Windle assured us it will still feel like a Lotus behind the wheel. That's partly because the battery pack is where the four- or six-cylinder would be in a mid-engined car rather than directly under the passenger compartment. This configuration gives the two passengers the impression of being wrapped in the cockpit while lowering the center of gravity. "We have the ability to deliver the driving dynamics and the performance that customers expect from a Lotus. It's the same dynamic setup, but with a different propulsion system," Windle pointed out.
Lotus will initially cap Evija production at 130 examples, so there likely won't be enough units to fill demand, but that's par for the course when it comes to halo models. The numerous lessons learned from the project will trickle down into other models in the coming years, however, and the company has several products in the pipeline.
"People do not understand that Lotus is still going. We want them to know we're still here, that we can still innovate," Windle said. "[The Evija] is not just a standalone product. The design language and the content that's in the car will give us direction as we shape future products that are coming. You'll see it as a trailblazer."