Could an Electric Esprit Replace the Lotus Emira in 2027?

Lotus/Richard Pardon

A new Lotus sports car, codenamed Type 135, is confirmed for production in 2027 to become the fifth car in an all-electric line-up.

When the Emira ends its run the Type 135 will take its place as the brand’s accessible sportster and be sold alongside the Evija Hypercar, Eletre Hyper SUV, Emeya Hyper GT and a more compact Type 134 SUV. Unlike its more mainstream stablemates, which are built in China, the Type 135 will be assembled at the Chapman Production Centre in Norfolk, U.K where the Evija is also produced.

While the SUVs and sedans will make up the vast majority of Lotus sales, the Type 135 will play a vital role in the company’s future. “We need the bullseye of the brand, which has to be that two-seat sports car,” Lotus Chief Commercial Officer Mike Johnstone told Autocar. “Otherwise we’re just a brand with a Lotus badge. The sports car is an essential part of our future.”

Lotus LEVA

So what do we know about the upcoming two-seater? It will be designed and built in Britain on a unique platform known as Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture), with its batteries mounted amidships for better weight distribution. Both rear-drive and all-wheel-drive will be available and advanced aerodynamics will be a key component. Lotus has set ambitious targets for range and price. A 66.4 kWh battery pack would allow for 300 miles on a charge, while the top-spec 99.6 kWh pack would extend that to 450 miles. The entry-level model will sell for around $95,000 which is on a par with the current Emira.

As to what the car will look like, there’s a strong chance Lotus could be inspired by its past for this future sports car. At the launch of the Emeya Chief Creative Officer Ben Payne told Hagerty that the classic Giugiaro wedge is already major influence on the design team. “We had an Esprit in the studio and everyone was drooling over it,” he said. “Designers love that Esprit definition, the join line—it’s super iconic.”

JPS Lotus Esprit - Silverstone auctions
Silverstone Auctions




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    Take everything that’s unique and charming and engaging about a sports car (engine, transmission, balance, feel) and sterilize it with a one speed electric motor and silent battery propulsion, just like every other EV. Will it be quick? Sure, they’re all quick, big deal. Will it be engaging? Yeah, about as engaging as every other EV SUV. Will it go 300 miles with 66kwh? No, more like 150 miles, and you’ll be looking for a charger sooner than that. Add heavy and expensive. And boring.

    Could it replace the Emira? No, It cannot. No soul, overweight and compromised will be it’s future if they do. “Otherwise we’re just a brand with a Lotus badge.” Lotus is already there and as they go further down the EV rabbit hole it is only going to get worse.

    A reliable Lotus? No. Can’t have that! How ’bout we wait and see how much weight LEVA really sheds and what the handling is like before casting aversions?

    I’m well intrigued by the prospect of an electric sports car done properly, particularly one that has what it takes to remain competitive for a whole 30-minute track session and charge back up in time for the next session. If anyone has the technical chops to do it, hopefully Lotus does.

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