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Lotus’ Final ICE Sports Car Will Be Replaced by an EV in 2027

The writing is already on the wall for the Emira, after little more than a year on sale.
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The Lotus Emira is still really fresh. U.K. customers were the first to take delivery in Q4 2022, making it barely more than a year old, so Lotus‘ sports car revival is just beginning. However, despite the Emira’s youth and rave reviews among car enthusiasts, the legendary British brand is already planning its replacement with a fully electric sports car set to debut in 2027.

According to Evo, Lotus is readying its EV sports car—codenamed “Type 135″—which will still be built in Hethel, England, where the Emira is currently made. Nevertheless, much of its R&D will be done by a different arm of the company, in Germany and China. Outsourcing some development isn’t unusual for Lotus, as it’s used Toyota V6s for decades, and the Emira even has an optional 2.0-liter turbo-four from AMG.

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No specs or details are available at this time, as all that Lotus is willing to say is that the Type 135 will be built alongside the electric Evija hypercar in Hethel, under the Lotus Cars division. The Chinese-built electric Lotuses (Loti?)—the Eletre, Emeya GT, and upcoming Type 134 SUV—will be developed by the Lotus Technologies arm.

The Lotus Emira being killed off so quickly is depressing. If it truly ends production in 2027, that will give it a five-year lifecycle, which is relatively short by normal industry standards but even shorter for Lotus. The Evora lasted 12 years, and the Series III Exige was sold for nine. Five years for what’s said to be the company’s final ICE sports car feels unfair, as it only just got here, and just kicked off the revival of genuinely good Lotus sports cars. It’s even worse for North American enthusiasts, as customers on this side of the pond haven’t taken delivery of their vehicles yet because Lotus is still waiting on an emissions certificate from the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

Yes, when the Type 135 gets here, it will still be a sports car. But so much of what’s made a Lotus a Lotus, historically, will be missing—the driver’s visceral interaction with the engine and transmission, not to mention lightness. Being bought by Geely and venturing into electric SUVs and sedans is what’s allowing the company to bring us the Emira in the first place. That’s all well and good, but it’d be a real shame if the last hurrah of the gas-burning Lotus is here and gone in five years.

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