What an electrical hypercar from Lotus may seem likeSecret Omega undertaking underneath technique to create Bugatti-baiting EV; idea due in 2019
Lotus is ready to stun the world with a brand new £2 million-plus electrical hypercar that acts as an announcement of intent underneath new proprietor Geely.
The brand new mannequin shall be inbuilt strictly restricted numbers, and would be the quickest, most costly and most radical mannequin made by Lotus in its 70-year historical past.
The undertaking is shrouded in secrecy at Lotus’s Hethel headquarters in Norfolk, however Autocar understands it has been given the codename Omega and improvement work is effectively underneath manner, with a reveal of an idea model set for subsequent 12 months.
Additional particulars are scarce at this stage, however Autocar can verify the brand new mannequin will use a bespoke all-electric drivetrain when it launches early within the subsequent decade.
The £2m-plus price ticket will propel Lotus right into a rarefied league it has by no means gone close to earlier than; the agency has solely lately began promoting some variants of its fashions for greater than £100,000, together with the Exige and Three-Eleven.
However whereas each Lotus because the Esprit has been a sports activities automotive somewhat than a supercar, the Omega undertaking will see Lotus leap straight into the world of hypercar making. The mannequin shall be priced far in extra of the likes of earlier electrified hypercars together with the McLaren P1, LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder, and near the £2.5m Bugatti Chiron.
Lotus senses a possibility with electrical expertise to reposition itself as essentially the most cutting-edge of efficiency automotive makers. Its new majority shareholder, Geely, is eager to leverage Lotus because the halo model for each expertise and efficiency in its group, which additionally consists of Volvo, Polestar, Lynk&Co, taxi maker LEVC, Proton and flying automotive maker Terrafugia.
Lotus has made its identify creating light-weight fashions, so the adoption of electrical energy will pose a problem to the Hethel engineers given the added weight of the batteries powering the electrical motors.
To again up its price ticket, Lotus will want some hefty headline numbers from its new hypercar – 1000bhpplus is touted as one goal – alongside some modern, ground-breaking expertise, by means of not solely electrical motors however presumably additionally next-generation battery expertise to enhance energy density and cut back the quantity of cells wanted. This is able to assist preserve the automotive’s kerb weight throughout the realms of the “simplify, then add lightness” philosophy embedded by Lotus founder Colin Chapman.
All-wheel drive by means of a number of electrical motors will certainly be a necessity to assist get the Omega’s appreciable energy and torque reserves to the street in an efficient method. As with most EVs coming now, a spread of greater than 250 miles shall be wanted, as will quick charging and a strong vitality restoration system to make sure any circuit operating doesn't immediately deplete its batteries.
The one different such electrical hypercar mannequin to make manufacturing has been the Chinese language-developed Nio EP9. The 1360bhp all-wheel-drive hypercar with a 265-mile vary lapped the Nürburgring in 6min 45.9sec.
With its present mannequin vary of Elise, Exige and Evora all rooted in ageing architectures, Lotus will use the electrical hypercar to reposition itself as essentially the most trendy of efficiency automotive makers.
Lotus, perennially lossmaking and underfunded by a succession of homeowners over a number of a long time, now has the world at its toes with Geely, which is planning to make the model a power to be reckoned with on the world stage.
The brand new hypercar isn't the one automotive within the works at Hethel, the place Geely’s majority stake is at 51%. The rest is owned by Malaysian conglomerate Etika Automotive, which is fronted by billionaire Syed Mokhtar, who additionally owns Lotus’s former proprietor DRB-Hicom.
Lotus will proceed to be primarily based at Hethel, the place its sports activities vehicles shall be produced alongside the engineering of all its fashions. However Lotus may also make use of a brand new Geely design centre in Coventry, and is recruiting designers and engineers throughout the organisation. What's at the moment unknown, nonetheless, is the place the long run SUV (additionally a significant a part of Lotus’s plans) shall be constructed. With restricted capability at Hethel, it's possible that Lotus will make use of Geely’s quite a few factories in locations resembling Sweden and the US.
Geely’s presence is already beginning to be felt round Lotus. Whereas it develops the following technology of Lotus fashions, it's making an enormous play across the heritage of the model to assist with its international positioning prepared for the launch of the brand new vehicles. To that finish, it lately submitted planning permission for a brand new buyer expertise centre, heritage centre and museum to breathe new life into its Hethel web site, the place additional redevelopments and upgrades are ongoing.
Geely has additionally put in new administration on the agency, changing Jean-Marc Gales, who helped stabilise Lotus and return it to revenue. Feng Qingfeng, who can be in command of Geely group engineering, is now CEO of Group Lotus, whereas former Jaguar Land Rover senior govt Phil Popham is CEO of Lotus Vehicles.
In response to Autocar’s story, Lotus mentioned it didn’t touch upon future product hypothesis. Nonetheless, it added: “Lotus’s improvement staff is exploring quite a few engineering initiatives, throughout a number of car sectors, utilizing a number of propulsion programs. As a part of the event course of, these initiatives endure continuous and stringent valuation and solely the very best will attain manufacturing.”
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