All-electric powertrain looking more & more likely.
British sports car marque Lotus has made quite the ripple though the automotive industry this week, as it announced that it will be working together with vaunted electric propulsion firm Williams Advanced Engineering to research & develop what they’re billing as “advanced propulsion technologies.” This comes after it was reported the brand is working on a £2-million hypercar that’ll be capable of keeping up with, if not surpassing, the very best that Bugatti & Rimac have to offer.
“Our new technology partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering is part of a strategy to expand our knowledge & capability in the rapidly-changing automotive landscape. Applying advanced propulsion powertrains can provide numerous exciting solutions across multiple vehicle sectors. Ou combined & complimentary experiences make this a very compelling match of engineering talent, technical ability, and pioneering British spirit.” – Phil Popham, Chief Executive Officer, Lotus Cars
Additionally, this announcement comes off the back of an earlier report that the Hethel-based firm was green-lit to set up a massive production facility in Wuhan, China, that has already received an OK from local planning authorities to manufacture battery-electric vehicles, in addition to internal-combustion and petrol-electric hybrid vehicles as well.
While the ‘Project Omega’ hypercar will likely be built in Hethel by hand (and not compromise the projected 150,000/year production capacity in Wuhan), it will likely serve as a test-bed of sorts for Lotus to learn the ropes insofar as petrol-electric hybrid or full-electric propulsion is concerned. This know-how will then allow them to flex their engineering muscles on their new SUV, which should go into prototype testing in the second-half of this year.
“Williams Advanced Engineering takes great pride in delivering innovation for our customers at a rapid pace of development, born from our Formula One heritage. We will be further developing next generation powertrains in this partnership with Lotus.” – Craig Wilson, Managing Director, Williams Advanced Engineering
It’s very clear that new-owners Geely have big plans for the Lotus brand, with every intention to transform it from a small specialist carmaker into a global force, trading on its ability to stay on the cutting-edge of engineering capability. This should, in theory, return Lotus to its former glory and bring the British name back into mainstream contention.