‘Driving is in our DNA’: Lotus CEO on future sports cars

After years on life support, Lotus is on the brink of something big. In 2017, this iconic British brand was taken over by Geely, the Chinese automotive giant that also owns Volvo. The new flagship Lotus Evija – the world’s most powerful road car – was revealed last summer and ambitious plans are afoot for a whole range of sports and luxury cars. We visit the Lotus factory at Hethel, Norfolk, and speak to CEO Phil Popham about what comes next.

Tell us about your career so far.

I joined the motor industry straight from university in 1988 – as a graduate trainee at Land Rover. I spent 25 years there, including stints in South Africa and the USA, with my final nine years on the executive committee. In 2014, I moved to [luxury yacht maker] Sunseeker, another famous British brand. The business was facing some headwinds, so to speak, but I led a turnaround back into profit. Then, in October 2018, I started here at Lotus.

What attracted you to the top job at Lotus?

The opportunity to rejuvenate Lotus was one I couldn’t turn down. I had an Esprit on my bedroom wall as a teenager and the brand has such a rich heritage The commitment and investment from Geely certainly attracted me, and indeed others from premium automotive backgrounds. We’ve got a really exciting business plan. Also, once you’ve been in the motor industry, as I have for most of my career, it’s in your blood. There’s something very special about it.

How have you found working with Geely?

I was on the board with Chery Automobile at Land Rover, and Sunseeker is owned by Wanda Group, so I have experience of working with Chinese companies. But I did my due-diligence before starting this role, flying to Hangzhou and meeting the senior team at Geely. The chairman, Li Shufu, has so much enthusiasm for the brand and the commitment of the senior team was obvious. The backing of the fastest-growing automotive company in the world – not just in terms of investment, but also capability and technology – is hugely beneficial for Lotus.

How will Lotus develop under Geely ownership?

Volvo is the obvious case-study here. It’s been very successful under Geely, but remains as Swedish as it ever was. The London Electric Vehicle Company [LEVC, maker of the London black cab] is another Geely brand that has flourished. And the same will be true for Lotus. In terms of working together, we use video conferencing a lot and I visit China four times a year. We have access to a sweet shop of resources. But Lotus contributes to the group, too – with our expertise in lightweighting, aerodynamics and chassis dynamics.

How would you define the brand values of Lotus?

We’ve done a lot of work on the DNA of the brand. Going back to the days of Colin Chapman, we are pioneering, intuitive and innovative. Our British heritage is important, too. The ‘For The Drivers’ tagline is more than just a marketing statement; it also defines how we develop new models. Lotus is all about the enjoyment of driving.

How is the £2 million Lotus Evija relevant to the real world?

Obviously, the Evija isn’t a volume product. But it makes a statement that Lotus is back, and showcases the capability we have here at Hethel. It’s the first all-British electric hypercar: sensational in terms of design, but also technology. It will inform our design language for the future – and electrification is also a statement about where Lotus is going.

What comes next in the product plan – and when?

Our next sports car will have an internal combustion engine and arrive towards the end of 2020. Beyond that, every new Lotus models will offer electrification, which means great benefits for packaging and weight distribution. We have many people working on new platforms, including at our new engineering office in Warwick, but they typically take at least four years to develop. For now, Lotus is focused on sports cars, although we believe the brand has enough strength and equity to move into other segments.

Will consultancy still be an important part of Lotus’ business?

Absolutely. We will do some work for Geely, but the aim for the consultancy arm is to work for other businesses, including outside the car industry. Our capabilities are relevant in many sectors: the recent collaboration with Hope on the Great Britain track team bike for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, for example.

Any chance of a return to F1 racing – or perhaps Formula E?

I’m not ruling anything out. Our first offering will be the Evora GT4, the prototype of which went up the hill at Goodwood last summer. That will race this year in a customer series. Formula One is incredibly expensive and our focus, at the moment, is on producing new platforms and new cars. Competitive racing is something we want to be part of in the future, though.

How about a renewed association between Lotus and James Bond?

Ha! We’ve been in a couple of movies so far and it’s a great British institution. Certainly, there’s a great fit between Bond and a British brand like Lotus. But there are no concrete plans at present.

Which brands will be the main rivals for Lotus?

I try not to draw comparators. Lotus is unique as a brand and we don’t want to be followers, we want to be pioneers. The one that often gets quoted to me is Porsche. It has been very successful at having a distinct identity, growing as a business and making money. We’ve got aspirations to grow as they have, but we’ll do things our own way.

Where do you see Lotus in 10 years’ time?

We actually have a plan called Vision 80, which takes us to our 80th anniversary in 2028. By then, I hope people will be using Lotus as a case study for a good car business. We’ll certainly produce a series of cars in different sectors. But I’m absolutely adamant that, both in terms of how they look and how they perform, they will stay true to the Lotus DNA.

Watch the 2,000hp Lotus Evija drift in video debut

Lotus Evija dynamic debut

Lotus has been busy testing its Evija electric hypercar. Covered in camouflage, it can be seen in action at a circuit, getting very out of shape in a new video. This represents the car’s dynamic world debut.

The film was shown at the Evija’s Chinese launch at the Guangzhou Auto Show, where Lotus confirmed that production will start in 2020. Nonetheless, the car still has a great deal of dynamic development ahead, both at Lotus’ home circuit of Hethel, as well as other tracks and, of course, on the road.

The car in the film is engineering prototype number two. We assume that follows on directly from the show car Lotus revealed in the summer.

Until this point, much of the Evija’s development has taken place on computers, including dynamic load and suspension simulations. 

As a reminder, the target power output is 2,000hp, and it should hit 62mph in less than three seconds. Zero to 186mph will be dispatched in less than nine seconds, with top speed beyond 200mph.

“Physical prototype testing at speed is a landmark moment for the Evija and hugely exciting for everyone involved,” said Gavan Kershaw, director of vehicle attributes at Lotus.

“Our aim is to make sure it’s a true Lotus in every sense, with exceptional performance that’s going to set new standards in the hypercar sector.”

Lotus Evija dynamic debut

“Everything about the Evija is ‘For The Drivers’,” said Matt Windle, executive director of engineering, speaking at the Guangzhou show.

“I don’t believe there is another EV in the world that can claim this. From the mid-engined-inspired Lotus layout, to the aerodynamics and downforce, the driving position, vehicle stance and unbelievable performance. It is instantly recognisable as special with a unique character, yet it is unquestionably a Lotus.”

Norwich City signs Lotus Cars on Deadline Day

Norwich City sign Lotus Cars on Deadline Day

Norwich City has made its first big Deadline Day signing, with Lotus Cars hoping to inject some pace and flair to Carrow Road.

News of the partnership comes on the eve of Norwich City’s Premier League opener against Liverpool. And at the end of the day, it looks like a good deal for both sides, Clive.

As part of the multi-year global deal, Lotus will see its new corporate identity on the pitch-side at Carrow Road, on the ‘walk-out’ jackets worn by the first-team squad, and on the shirts of academy players from ages nine to 23.

Meanwhile, the training facility is now The Lotus Training Centre, and the all-new academy will be called The Lotus Academy.

Lotus Training Centre Norwich City

And at the end of the partnership, Lotus Cars will run down its contract before leaving on a free transfer, Jeff. Probably.

Lotus has been building cars at Hethel, to the south of Norwich, since 1966, and employs around 1,200 people in the region.

Speaking about the new corporate identity, Simon Clare, executive director of global marketing at Lotus, said: “We’ve looked back at the original Lotus roundel and thought about Colin Chapman’s philosophy – to simplify and add lightness.

“We’ve applied that to create a new roundel, taking the weight out of the lettering and adapting the spacing. We’ve also straightened the word ‘Lotus’ so it’s consistent with the Lotus wordmark.”

A partnership of two halves

New Lotus branding Norwich City

On the subject of the partnership with Norwich City, Clare added: “Lotus is a brand born for and out of performance and competition, so this partnership is perfect for both parties. Together Lotus and Norwich City Football Club share core values – commitment, passion, focus, hard work, a winning mindset – and the success that flows from them.

“This partnership joins two iconic Norfolk brands as they accelerate on to the global stage together. Both share a desire for innovation and, as we herald a new era together, we are incredibly excited about playing a part in the development of Norwich City Football Club and its talent. Today we are investing in that future.”

Here’s a little video showing club legend Darren Huckerby arriving at the club’s training facility. Check out the not-so-subtle reference to Norwich City’s East Anglian rivals. Sorry, Ipswich Town fans.

£2 million Lotus Evija is most powerful road car EVER

Lotus Evija

As the drapes drop to reveal the Lotus Evija, a frisson of excitement ripples around the room. Yes, it looks fantastic, yet this is also a decisive moment for Lotus. After 71 years, this British marque, now backed by Chinese money, is poised to become a world player.

The Evija (say it ‘Ev-eye-ya’) is the opening salvo in that reinvention, one that will see Lotus manufacturing cars in China and setting its sights beyond sports cars at saloons, SUVs and more. “In order to make waves, you need to make a splash,” says Lotus CEO Phil Popham. The 2,000hp Evija – the most powerful production car ever – feels like a tsunami. 

That power figure outguns even the rival 1,903hp Pininfarina Battista – and the Lotus will be rarer, too. Just 130 examples will be made (hence the car’s ‘Type 130’ codename, priced at around £2 million each.

Beating the Battista

Lotus Evija

The Evija’s mid-mounted 2,000kW lithium-ion battery was developed with Williams Advanced Engineering and is described as ‘the lightest, most energy dense electric power package ever fitted to a road car’. Lotus is being coy about performance figures, but with just 1,680kg to shift and an almighty 1,254lb ft (1,700Nm) of torque delivered to all four wheels from a standstill, acceleration will be savage.

All we know at present is it will hit 62mph (100kph) in ‘less than three seconds’ and exceed 200mph. 

There are five driving modes: Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track. In Track mode, torque vectoring constantly adjusts output to individual wheels to boost cornering ability. Lotus also talks of ‘alternative battery packs… to optimise track performance’. Just in case your standard Evija feels a tad tardy.

It’s not all future tech, though. Lotus has opted for hydraulic power steering – rather than an electric set-up – for ‘pure steering feel’. “Everything we do is centred on driving enjoyment,” explains Popham. “More than any other brand, that’s what Lotus is about.”

Downforce by design

Lotus Evija

If the stats are startling, the Evija’s design is an equal source of excitement. It’s aggressive without being showy, functional yet still beautiful.

Carbon fibre bodywork surrounds a monocoque tub weighing just 129kg. Designer Russell Carr talks of how the shape was “carved by air”, taking inspiration from Le Mans racers and fighter aircraft.

By far the Evija’s most distinctive feature are the venturi ducts that pierce its haunches, funnelling air through the car to help deliver ‘exceptional amounts of downforce’. Surrounded by red LEDs at the rear, they deliberately resemble jet afterburners.

Other aero appendages include the bi-plane front splitter, which provides cool air to the battery, and the pop-out rear-view mirror cameras. These evoke Lotus pop-up headlights of the past, reckons Carr. 

Focus and feedbackLotus Evija

The interior of the Evija is functional and focused on the driver. Access is via dramatic, upwards-opening dihedral doors activated by the key fob (there are no handles). Once inside, a switch in the roof console – a nod to the classic Esprit Turbo – closes them. 

Hard-shell carbon fibre seats are upholstered with strategically-placed Alcantara pads, with four-point harness seatbelts an option. The rectangular steering wheel is a clear link with Lotus’ F1 heritage, including a Ferrari-style ‘manettino’ to switch between drive modes. 

Up front, a compact digital display helps minimise driver distraction, while the jutting centre console features touch-sensitive haptic switches and a rotary controller for infotainment (including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity). “The driver is in sync with the car at all times and almost feels as if they are wearing it,” explains Carr.

Gunning for greatness

Lotus Evija

Assuming you drive with a modicum of restraint, the Evija can travel 250 miles (400km) on a full battery. Using a 350kW charger – the most powerful currently available – charge time will be 18 minutes to 100 percent capacity. It will offer Tesla-style over-the-air software updates and a dedicated smartphone app.

Customers will also be able to specify the car to their exact requirements. Want gold badges or a family crest embossed on the seats? If you really must, Lotus can oblige.

Lotus’ parent company Geely has already overseen the rebirth of Volvo and successful launch of Polestar, an upmarket EV brand that offers tempting opportunities for tech-sharing. Who’d bet against it giving Lotus a new lease of life? The Hethel-based company – which built just 1,700 cars last year – seems suddenly on the cusp of greatness.

“The Evija is a car like no other. It will re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage,” said CEO Popham. “We hope this is our Sergeant Pepper moment.”

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija: specification

Powertrain: All-electric, four-wheel drive
Power: 2,000hp
Torque: 1,254lb ft (1,700Nm) 
0-62 mph: Less than 3.0 seconds
Top speed: More than 200mph
Range: 250 miles (400km)
Charging time: 18 minutes (350kW charger)
Weight: 1,680 kg
Production run: 130 cars
Length/width/height: 4,459/2,000/1,122 mm
Price: Approx. £2 million
On sale: 2020

Gallery: 2020 Lotus Evija revealed in full

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From Elan to Evija: the greatest Lotus road cars

Lotus Evija

All-new cars don’t come around too often at Lotus, so when they do it’s a big deal. Now, that car – the all-electric Evija – happens to be the fastest, most powerful, most expensive and most exotic machine the company has ever made.

We’ll get to the Evija soon, but first a tour through some of Lotus’ greatest hits… 

Lotus Seven SS

Lotus Seven

Weighing next to nothing, and with a 125hp Holbay Twin-Cam engine, there was simply nothing like the Seven SS back in 1969. Of course, the Seven still lives on, albeit with a Caterham badge. The basic formula (and it really is basic) has endured.

Lotus Eleven

Lotus Eleven

In reality, the Eleven was a racer you could buy in road-going form. The Coventry Climax engine was tiny, but aerodynamics made this Lotus competitive at Le Mans in 1957.

Lotus Elan Sprint

Lotus Elan

This has to be in the top three of all-time great Lotuses. The original Elan was a masterclass in founder Colin Chapman’s ‘simplify and add lightness’ mantra. In its final 1970s incarnation, the Elan got the famous 126hp Big Valve Twin Cam engine, good for 125mph and 60mph in just 5.9 seconds.

Lotus Cortina

Lotus Cortina

Perhaps the most famous in a long line of cars tuned by the performance fanatics at Lotus. Ford partnered with the Hethel-based marque to prepare its Cortina saloon for track work, leading to famous victories for Jim Clark. However, you could have as much fun on the public road in the 1960s. These screaming twin-cam precursors to the hot hatchback can be seen driving on their door handles each year at Goodwood Revival. 

Lotus Europa Twin Cam

Lotus Europa

Losing the Renault engine from the Europa was a good move. The Lotus Twin Cam engine brought this little mid-engined sports car to life in 1971.

Lotus Esprit Turbo

Lotus Esprit

The Esprit really is the iconic Lotus, isn’t it? The original was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and looked incredible. With a 210hp turbocharged engine, it could exceed 150mph. Although we wouldn’t recommend it unless your codename is ‘007’.

Lotus Elan 100

Lotus Elan

Shock, horror – a front-wheel-drive Lotus! Fear not, it’s still a Lotus. With a 160hp turbocharged Isuzu engine and a brilliant chassis, the Elan 100 served up brilliant fun in 1989. 

Lotus Esprit Sport 350

Lotus Esprit

A stylish new body and a twin-turbo V8 made the Esprit even more desirable. Add rarity to that – just 50 were made – and you get perhaps the ultimate incarnation of the Esprit. Pictured is the Sport 300. Just imagine it with a nice big wing… 

Lotus Carlton

Lotus Carlton

A car that strikes fear into the hearts of supercars. The Carlton saw Lotus take its fettling of previously fusty road cars to a whole new level. With a turbocharged V6 producing 377hp, it could crack 175mph. Sensational stuff in 1990.

Lotus Elise S1

Lotus Elise

Lotus’s bread and butter for the modern era, that the Evija now continues, the Elise first appeared in 1996. It brilliantly brought the brand back to its lightweight, nimble roots. The 111S version had around 145hp and seemed indecently quick. And it could shame larger, heavier supercars in the twisty stuff.

Lotus Elise GT1

Lotus Elise GT1

Speaking of supercars, here’s the Elise GT1. With a roaring American-based V8, this car seems almost entirely out of character for Lotus. Alas, the Elise GT1 was an ill-fated crack at the road-based GT1 racing discipline, which saw McLaren and Porsche take Le Mans victories. Just one road car was homologated.

Lotus Exige S1

Lotus Exige

The last Elise S1-based entry, we promise. The S1 Exige deserves its spot given this hardcore, hard-topped, wing-wearing beast is revered by many as perhaps the greatest modern Lotus. High praise.

Lotus Elise S2

Lotus Elise

The restyled Elise swapped the Rover K-series engine for Toyota twin-cam units. Less characterful? Perhaps, but certainly more capable. The pinnacle was the supercharged 220hp Elise SC, which could get to 60mph in 4.3 seconds.

Lotus 340R

Lotus 340R

Strip the shell from an S1 Elise (yes, it’s back), bolt on a body that comes from a Mad Max movie and you have the 340R. With the Sport pack it produced 190hp in 2000.

Lotus Exige S2

Lotus Exige

The second Exige to be made and last of the naturally-aspirated versions. This is a car that needs to be celebrated, as it takes the revvy Toyota engine up to 190hp. Clarkson fought off an Apache helicopter gunship using one on Top Gear in 2004.

Lotus 2-Eleven

Lotus 2-Eleven

Invoking the spirit of the 340R, the 2-Eleven is a cannibalised Exige with a 250hp supercharged Toyota engine. Weighing just 670kg, the 2-Eleven was quick: 0-60 in under four seconds with a 150mph top speed. Road-legality was a £1,100 option.

Lotus Evora

Lotus Evora

First it was rumoured to be the new Esprit, then the ‘Eagle’ prototype name started floating around. When the Evora was revealed in 2009, it was praised, but wasn’t quite the Lotus rebirth some had been hoping for. Still, we’ve no arguments against a sporty, mid-engined, semi-luxurious two-plus-two with a 280hp six-cylinder heart.

Lotus Exige S3 V6

Lotus Exige

That same six-cylinder engine made its way into the S3 Exige, packing 345hp courtesy of a supercharger. In present 430 form it has – you guessed it – 430hp. That’s more than twice the power of the S2. These new generation Exiges have sufficient power and poise to keep a Porsche 911 GT3 honest.

Lotus 3-Eleven

Lotus 3-Eleven

The 3-Eleven was the quickest production Lotus road car ever when it was revealed in 2016. With a 450hp supercharged V6, it could top 180mph and crack 60mph in 3 seconds on the nose.

Lotus Evora Sport

Lotus Evora

It didn’t take long for Lotus to supercharge the Evora. First reaching 350hp, then leaping up to 400, 410 and 430hp. With carbon fibre aero addenda and a circa-£100,000 price tag, the Evora has almost achieved supercar status.

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

The Evija, meanwhile, leaps straight into the realm of the hypercar. Pronounced ‘Ev-eye-a’, this all-electric machine is a halo model, courtesy of a much-needed cash injection from new Lotus custodians Geely.

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

Yes, it’s fully electric: gone are the cylinders, gone are the superchargers (please, no Tesla jokes). This is a hypercar with no exhaust that you plug in at home. It’s a breathtaking vision of the future.

Lotus Evija

Lotus Evija

With development know-how from Williams and fellow Geely brand Polestar, the Evija is the first of a new generation of Lotuses. Just 130 will be made, as referenced by the car’s ‘Type 130’ codename. Expect a price well over £1 million. We’ve come a long way from that old Seven SS…

Lotus Evija: British electric hypercar named at Goodwood

Lotus Evija hypercar name revealed at Goodwood FOS

Lotus has revealed the name of its forthcoming electric hypercar, previously known as ‘Type 130’, at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Hethel’s very own 130-off hypercar will be called Evija

Lotus Evija – what’s in a name?

The name reveal is a big moment for Lotus. This is to be the first all-new car Lotus brings to market under new owners Geely, and a hypercar really sets the tone for what else we can expect going forward.

Even the name itself hints that Lotus is only just getting started with this new lease of life. Translated, Evija means ‘the first in existence’ or  ‘the living one’.

That first meaning in particular hints at the big plans Geely has for Lotus, beginning with Evija. More electric sports cars to come?

Lotus Evija

“As the first major Lotus model launch under the stewardship of Geely – the world’s fastest growing automotive group – its significance cannot be overstated.”

Quite. We look forward to more where that came from, Lotus.

As for how you say it? Apparently, it’s pronounced ‘Ev-eye-ja’. If only we’d had such help from the horses mouth when the Pagani Huayra came out…

Revealing the Lotus Evija design

Lotus isn’t quite ready to show the Evija in full, but it’s eager, as evidenced by the tease it’s set up at Goodwood. Anyone can go and see a ‘light show’ over the course of the weekend, revealing more about the design of the car.

We don’t have long to wait, though. Lotus intends on unveiling the car in full in London later this month. Just 130 Evijas will be built, hence the Type-130 code name.

As for whether Lotus founder Colin Chapman would approve? Well, electrification simplifies, but does it add lightness? We’ll be intrigued to hear more details upon the car’s full reveal.

Lotus Evija

“Evija is the perfect name for our new car because it’s the first hypercar from Lotus, our first electric offering and is the first new model under the stewardship of Geely,” said Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham.

“The Evija is a Lotus like no other, yet a true Lotus in every sense. It will re-establish our brand on the global automotive stage and pave the way for further visionary models.”

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

Why Volvo is so exciting for Lotus

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester HeritageJust a few years ago, Volvo was a minor player in the premium car sector. Its biggest hit, the XC90 large SUV, was ageing badly, and other models such as the S60 and V70 were off the pace.

Even its best-selling car, the XC60 mid-size SUV, was ready for replacement, while its newest model, the V40, was basically a Ford Focus in drag.

Today, Volvo is a different company.

It started with the all-new XC90, a radical reinvention that took everyone by surprise and set the template for everything since.

The XC90 was stylish, sophisticated and a quantum leap on in terms of quality and ability – suddenly a fierce rival to alternatives from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Hit after hit has followed: the S90 and V90, XC60, XC40, S60 and V60. Volvo has replaced almost its entire model range, with only the V40 waiting for reinvention.

We’re promised a surprise there, too.

The Geely magic

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

What’s behind all this? Ford’s decision to sell Volvo for $1.6 billion in 2010, to a company then relatively unknown in the west, but a giant in China: Geely.

Geely gave Volvo serious financial backing, scrutinised its development plans, but then seemed happy to oversee things from afar. Geely didn’t interfere and Volvo has thrived.

The Geely magic has since benefited another company on its knees: the London Taxi International.

Geely rescued it, renamed it the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), and funded development of a plug-in hybrid taxi that London cabbies, a notoriously tough audience to please, are raving about.

LEVC is now planning to do the same in the commercial vehicle sector with a plug-in hybrid van

It seems, if Geely commits to a company, it’s sure to prosper. 

Lotus sunbeam

Volvo and Lotus at Bicester Heritage

And the latest company set to demonstrate the Geely magic? Lotus. Next month, it will reveal a brand new £1 million-plus electric hypercar.

Next year, it will start replacing its current dated (albeit still brilliant) sports cars. It is even likely to make an SUV (although the company has yet to confirm this).

I visited Lotus this week, to drive some of its current cars. The mood amongst the team? Buoyant. It is already seeing what Geely is bringing to the firm, and can’t wait to start talking about new products.

As I drove home in a Volvo test car – the excellent new S60, a convincing BMW 3 Series rival at last – I got it, too.

Watch Lotus with interest: it’s getting ready to do a Volvo.

Lotus will reveal its new electric hypercar in July

Lotus Type 130 teaser

Lotus has confirmed it will reveal its all-new electric car in July – which it describes as the ‘world’s first British all-electric hypercar’.

Currently carrying the project code ‘Type 130’, the new model will make its world debut in central London on 16 July, ahead of deliveries beginning in 2020.

Just 130 models will be built.

Lotus confirmed the new car at the Shanghai Auto Show in April. Since then, it says “several hundred” potential customers have expressed an interest.

Each one will be built at its Norfolk factory.

Lotus is describing the car as an all-new model – it’s first since the Evora more than a decade ago. A short teaser video reveals little (apart from a smart illuminated ‘LOTUS’ script) but is sure to raise interest further in the lightweight Lotus EV.

“Type 130 will be the most dynamically accomplished road car in the company’s history,” says the firm, “continuing a bloodline rich in firsts and technical game-changers in automotive and motorsport.”

Earlier this year, Lotus announced a deal with Williams Advanced Engineering to develop advanced propulsion systems. The new Type 130 may be the first beneficiary of this partnership. 

Type 130: Lotus confirms all-electric hypercar

Lotus Type 130

Lotus has chosen the Auto Shanghai show in China, the home of parent company Geely, to confirm that it is preparing an all-new car. It will be Britain’s first all-electric hypercar, and the company’s first all-new model since 2008.

That’s right, the Norfolk firm’s first new car for over 11 years is going to be a world-beating all-electric hypercar. Geely isn’t holding back on the world-famous sports car proprietor that it’s now bankrolling.

Type 130: everything we know so far

In truth, we don’t know an awful lot. Given the word ‘hypercar’, we can safely bet it’s going to have over 700hp, but power is likely to be in the region of 1,000hp or more,if Pininfarina and Rimac fans are to be sated.

Given that this is Lotus, expect it to be lightweight, too. Not a feat easily achieved when electric power and the associated batteries are involved.

Let’s hope ‘simplify and add lightness’ hasn’t become ‘simplify and add electricity’.

Lotus insists the Type 130 will be the latest and greatest in a long line of game-changers. Indeed, the promotional video references plenty of Lotus’s past F1 greats. The name Type 130 is meant to follow on from the revolutionary Elise, the Type 111, as well as a lifetime of revolutionary F1 machinery.

What we can guarantee is that there will be no Cosworth DFV V8 soundtrack with this new Lotus… Still, the ‘For the drivers’ tag line makes us cautiously optimistic.

“Type 130 will be the most dynamically accomplished Lotus in our history,” said Lotus CEO Phil Popham.

“It marks a turning point for our brand and is a showcase of what we are capable of and what is to come from Lotus.”

The car will be revealed in London later this year, so we don’t have long to wait before we learn more. What is certain is that this is the first in a coming onslaught of Lotus product. Let’s hope they make Bahar’s old plans look as pedestrian as they were ambitious.

Lotus to partner with Williams to develop ‘advanced propulsion systems’

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Two British titans of Formula One past and present are joining forces. Lotus and Williams Advanced Engineering have announced a ‘strategic technical partnership in which the companies will share research and development into advanced propulsion technologies’.

What’s obvious is this has nothing to do with Formula One. ‘Advanced propulsion technologies’ sounds like Williams-developed batteries in an electric Lotus  and potentially Volvos (via Lotus parent company Geely), too.

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Both companies have a history of jumping into bed with other manufacturers to bring go-faster fruit to bear. Who fancies a Lotus Carlton versus Renault Clio Williams twin-test?

Also, both companies have industry-favourite engineering subsidiaries. Lotus Engineering has helped develop various technologies and many cars over the years.

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Williams Advanced Engineering, meanwhile, is currently working on the Dendrobium electric hypercar. With these two performance and technology superpowers combined, the sky could be the limit.

Not coincidentally, we think, Lotus is rumoured to be working on an all-electric hypercar with more than 1,000hp. If true, you can bet Williams will be on the shop floor, further cornering the electric hypercar market.

“Our new technology partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering is part of a strategy to expand our knowledge and capability in the rapidly changing automotive landscape,” said Phil Popham, CEO of Lotus Cars.

“Applying advanced propulsion powertrains can provide numerous exciting solutions across multiple vehicle sectors. Our combined and complementary experiences make this a very compelling match of engineering talent, technical ability and pioneering British spirit.”

WIlliams partners with Lotus

Likewise, Craig Wilson, MD of Williams Advanced Engineering, said, “We will be further developing next-generation powertrains in this partnership with Lotus.”

What do you want to see come out of this partnership? Could we see a Tesla Roadster-rivalling next-generation Elise or Esprit, or even a world-beating hypercar?