Will 2021 mark the death of the true Lotus?
Lotus was quite literally built on lightness. From the earliest Seven to the most recent Evora, the company has made weight-saving its priority, but as it pivots to become a EV maker, 2021 may see the last Lotus that is true to this spirit.
Lotus boss Phil Popham has confirmed that the company will soon reveal its first new sports car since 2009 and its last powered by an internal combustion engine. After that, as foreshadowed by the Evija hypercar, Lotus will shift to battery power. Although the Evija is insanely fast and boasts over 2000 hp, it weighs 3703 pounds, making it obese by Colin Chapman standards.
The new car, to be unveiled later this year, is also expected to replace the entire current Lotus model range. In the U.S.A that’s just the Evora, but for other parts of the planet that means the Elise and Exige will be put to bed as well.
The yet-to-be-named model will have a wide price range—from around $75,000 to $143,000—to cover the bases previously taken care of by its three predecessors. There’s no word on which engine will power the new car, but test mules clothed in Evora bodywork have been spied, suggesting that the car still sits on a version of the bonded aluminum platform—an architecture that was so advanced when it debuted in the 1990s that it remains viable today.
Under its Chinese owners at Geely, Lotus is said to be working on an SUV. To be fair—if Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, and Ferrari are doing it, then we struggle to blame Lotus for following the trend. On the upside, the recently-announced partnership with Alpine means that even when the brand does go fully electric, Lotus should still make something that’s relatively affordable and fun to drive. Just don’t expect another true Lotus lightweight.