Lotus looks set to be marching on with its ambitions of carving a more mainstream niche for itself, with the announcement that it will have four new electric vehicles on the market by 2026, including two SUVs.
Some Lotus purists will be dismayed with the inclusion of SUVs, a vehicle class that would’ve once been considered an antithesis to Lotus’ ‘add lightness’ credo. But, it’s true. The brand has two electric SUVs in the works, in an attempt to cash in on current customer trends.
One of these is set to be the first of the Lotus EV foursome to launch, being scheduled to break cover in 2022. It’s set to be similar in size to a BMW X5, and no doubt pitched as a premium performance rival to the likes of the X5, Porsche Cayenne, and others.
The four new projects have been given the codenames ‘Type 132’ (the aforementioned X5-sized SUV), ‘Type 133’ (four-door coupe), ‘Type 134’ (mid-size SUV), and the ‘Type 135’, with the latter being most relevant to performance car fans.
It will be an electric two-door sports car co-developed by Renault’s performance arm, Alpine. One expects it to slot underneath the much touted Evija (also pictured) as a more accessible option. A new Elise then, perhaps?
Each model is set to share the same all-new modular EV platform developed by Lotus. Like other modular platforms, each vehicle will get its own specific wheelbase dimensions, and its own specific tuning. We suspect this platform will deploy a bevy of weight-saving tricks in order to continue Lotus’ legacy for lightness.
Battery offerings range from between 92kWh and 120kWh. Ample figures relative to the EVs of today, likely ensuring a range of well over 500km in each model. Lotus claims that flagship variants will be able to hit 100km/h in around three seconds.
The announcement wasn’t just about the four new cars, either. Lotus also issued illustrative pictures of its new factory in Wuhan, China. The near $2billion factory is set to open before the end of the year, is said to be capable of building 150,000 cars per year, and is set to shoulder production duties for the two SUVs.
“Transforming Lotus from a UK sports car company to a truly global performance car company has always been at the core of Vision80,” says Matt Windle, Lotus managing director.
“The launch of Lotus Technology is a major milestone on the road to making that a reality, while adhering to the unwavering Lotus principles of pure performance, efficiency, motorsport success and, above all, being ‘For the Drivers’.”