Well that escalated quickly….
The Evija is the mysterious Lotus hypercar the company has been teasing under the ‘Type 130’ project designation. And in London, the wraps have been pulled off to reveal a sleek silver wedge with butterfly doors, a mid-engine profile, and a bevy of underbody and Venturi tunnel aero elements.
Speaking at the unveiling, Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said: “The Lotus Evija is a car like no other. It will re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage. It will also pave the way for further visionary models.”
He added: “This is another amazing moment in the history of our company. The Evija is a true Lotus in every sense – it has been developed with an unwavering passion to push boundaries, to explore new ways of thinking and to apply ground-breaking technologies.”
Of course, being an fully electric, there’s no engine to mount amidship. Instead, the Evija (pronounced with a silent ‘J’) features four electric motors, one for each wheel, and a large bank of lithium-ion batteries placed in the centre of the carbon fibre shell.
That combination is a potent one, and Lotus looks to be aiming for bleachers with the car’s EV-enabled thrust and resulting performance, targeting the combined output to be around 1471kW and probably enough torque to trigger tectonic shifts (1,700Nm estimated).
By their own yardstick, the company is projecting it as the most powerful production road car ever made. However, even with all that raw motive force, they’re setting the target 0-100km/h time at under 3 seconds, which is hardly lackadaisical, but bear in mind other hypercars, particularly ones that are electrically augmented, are touting sub-2 second sprints.
Top speed, meanwhile, is quoted at being over 320km/h. Electric cars aren’t known to be able to match their combustion-powered counterparts due to the lack of a gearbox, so this is more than adequate.
With production limited to just 130 units, Lotus is planning to have the Evija engineered and hand-built in its home town of Hethel, constructing it from state of the art lightweight materials and machining techniques, though under the stewardship from some bigwigs from their new Chinese parent company.
It’s only been 26 months since the ownership transfer of British sports car specialists Lotus shifted from Proton to Geely as part of the latter’s acquisition of the Malaysian automaker, and the first major announcement of a new model comes with terms such as ‘hypercar’ and ‘world’s fastest’ attached.
Also quite astonishing is to consider that, following this unveil, Lotus plans to have the infrastructure, testing, and finalisation of a finished EV hypercar done in 2020, which is when initial deliveries are due to commence. Quite a long way from the bonded aluminium and fibreglass composites it used to deal in, for sue.
That’s also quite a leap, an ambitious one, for a company that has no prior experience (and little interest in) with electrification nor building a car that is necessarily the most powerful or containing the highest count of superlatives. Instead, cars like the Elise, Exige, and Evora have been focused driver’s cars.
Instead, with it being powered by batteries, all the rarified materials they can bring together will still struggle to mask the Evija’s target weight of 1,680kg. While Lotus asserts that that would make it the least heavy pure electric hypercar ever, it still makes it heavy most standards in high performance, and especially so by Lotus standards - famed for its philosophy of lightness.
Depending on which drive mode is selected - Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track - the Evija’s fully charged battery is meant to yield over 400km in range before needing to be topped up. Switch it into its most aggressive setting, though, and the car can be driven flat out continuously for 7 minutes before the batteries reach their thermal limits.
When a recharge is required, and providing a 350kW fast charger is handy, the car’s energy reserves can be replenished to 80 percent capacity in just 12 minutes while another 6 minutes is needed to reach 100 percent.
To be among the lucky 130 owners of an Evija, one would need to quickly fork out £250,000 (around AU$443,000) for the deposit. Once it’s ready, the finished car will cost around $3 million including (most) duties and taxes.
We’ll be following the Evija’s journey toward full scale production closely, observing Lotus’s metamorphosis into a high-tech purveyor of super sports cars and an apparent pioneer in electric ultra-high performance.