It’s alive: the Lotus Evija prototype hits the track

You could be forgiven if you’re a bit skeptical about the chances of Lotus’ new 1972-horsepower electric Evija übercar actually reaching production. The company has some history announcing cars that never hit the assembly lines. Former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar infamously introduced an entire lineup of new Lotus-branded cars (and even suggested an SUV) that never saw the light of day. Even company founder Colin Chapman, before his sudden death, announced plans to make a V-8-powered, four-door Lotus luxury sedan that apparently never went beyond preliminary sketches. There was also the Giugiaro-penned Etna coupe that made it as far as a concept, but was never produced.

You can put some of that skepticism aside now that Lotus has released a video of an Evija prototype undergoing high-speed track testing on real-world pavement. The Evija is alive, as the mirror image of the Evija logo suggests.

Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes for Lotus Cars, said in a statement: “Physical prototype testing at speed is a landmark moment for the Evija and hugely exciting for everyone involved. 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.”

The Evija’s track testing is part of what Lotus is calling a “comprehensive validation and initial build process” in preparation for series production of the 130 models that will be built starting sometime in 2020. Over the next few months Lotus will continue to test the Evija’s dynamics at its private test track laid out on the former RAF airfield that is the site of Lotus’ headquarters and factory in Hethel, as well as on other demanding test tracks and racing circuits in Europe, with more practical testing to follow on public roads.

Lotus says the Evija in the video is prototype number two; another Evija, presumably prototype one, is currently on a promotional world tour, starting with the Guangzhou auto show, where the Evija is getting its Chinese debut. Lotus, if you remember, is now a subsidiary of Chinese-based Geely.

The Evija has already been put through kinematic and compliance testing, Lotus says, but meeting government standards and the handling expectations of Lotus enthusiasts is a given. Lotus is moving up, both in terms of power output and pricing, though; if the Evija is to successfully compete with other hypercars it had better be as reliable as the competition—which may be a challenge for Lotus, which has not had the best reputation for quality control.

The Evija certainly breaks new ground for the storied British manufacturer. Can the hypercar depart this far from the tradition of Lotus without defying the spirit of the brand? Let us know your thoughts below.

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