Autocar September 29, 2021

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1 min
putting you in the driver’s seat since 1895

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1 min
car brands trade on values, not heritage

IF YOU WERE running a car firm in the current era, would you rather have a brand with a rich history that has faded from prominence, or a clean-sheet start-up? I was pondering that while reading about the development of Lotus and Polestar, two Geely-owned brands with very different heritages – but equally bold and bright futures (Lotus, p6 and Polestar, p16). The Lotus name comes loaded with an enviable history of Colin Chapman, motorsport machines and innovative, lightweight sports cars. But Geely will follow the example set by BMW in its custodianship of Mini (p14): keep one core product that embodies the brand’s history (in Mini’s case, a compact, agile and familiar-looking hatchback; in Lotus’s, a two-seat sports car with exquisite ride and handling), which provides the freedom to broaden…

6 min
electric elise successor to crown lotus’s ev rebirth

“The batteries can be stacked behind the rear seats, replicating a mid-engined layout” Lotus is ramping up development of the all-new, pure-electric sports cars that will take the place of the now-retired Elise, Exige and Evora at its UK HQ in Hethel from 2026. As the company prepares to put the 130-run Evija hypercar into production and get the Emira, its final combustion-engined car, into dealerships in the coming months, it has revealed the first details of the E-Sports architecture that underpins its bold plan to electrify all future sports cars. More ‘lifestyle’-oriented EVs, including the Type 132 SUV, Type 133 four-door coupé and Type 134 crossover, will be built at the Lotus Technology HQ in Wuhan, China, from next year. The E-Sports platform has yet to be revealed in its entirety but…

1 min
alpine to use new lotus ev platform for next a110

The E-Sports platform has huge implications for the future of Lotus’s own line-up, but it will also find its way into models from other manufacturers. The firm’s consultancy arm, Lotus Engineering, is already talking to interested parties, but only Renault-owned Alpine has publicly declared its intention to use Lotus-fettled underpinnings. Alpine is collaborating with Hethel on chassis development with a view to launching an EV successor to the A110 coupé. Alpine’s sibling model to the Type 135, Lotus MD Matt Windle hinted, is likely to have a shorter wheelbase (the current A110’s wheelbase is 120mm shorter than the Evora’s, for reference) and recent comments by Alpine technical chief Gilles Le Borgne suggest it will, like Lotus’s car, maintain a commitment to agility over outright pace. “For us, it’s more important to keep the…

2 min
q&a matt windle, managing director, lotus cars

Do you envisage replacing each of Lotus’s recently retired models? “For me, what’s important is that while we talk about the history of dynamics in our DNA, I also want to innovate and look forward, and EV powertrains give a lot of different options. You’ve seen it on Evija, with the chest battery and the aerodynamics running through the car, so I don’t want to limit the creativity of the team by saying we’ve got to replicate something that’s gone before, but we always will use it as a reference.” E-Sports can accommodate a crossover, so will Hethel build an SUV? “No. But this platform has been developed both for our own products and Lotus Engineering. It was part of the Vision80 strategy that we sold to Geely, and they agreed that if…

4 min
aura is british ev tech showcase

The futuristic Aura is a one-off road-legal two-seater developed by a consortium of British companies to showcase an array of new technologies that could shape the development of electric cars. Four outfits contributed to the project: Astheimer led the design, Potenza Technology supplied the batteries and motors, BAMD Composites developed the body panels and vegan interior and Conjure was responsible for the human-machine interface (HMI), which uses technology from Spark EV to effectively manage battery charge. Although it’s designed in the mould of a traditional open-top roadster, the Aura’s prevailing focus is on sustainability and efficiency, rather than outright pace and dynamic agility. It’s described as “Britain’s first long-range EV”and employs an array of measures to maximise range and reduce its environmental impact. Its body is formed from lightweight natural fibre composites and…