Back in August Lotus announced that it would be soon producing electric vehicles, the first of which would be an electric SUV due in 2022. However, it's not giving up on lightweight sports cars and it's finally unveiled a few more details on the upcoming electric Lotus.
The upcoming two-seat electric sports car will be based on the Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture, which is designed to fit different chassis with up to three configurations, per the press release. Neither of these will likely have the power output of the 1,922-horsepower Evija and will most likely have lower battery capacity than you might expect, but this will be done in the name of weight savings. That being said, the positioning of the motor-generator unit is straight out of mid-engine fantasies.
There are three configurations that Lotus has shown so far. A two-seater version with a lower-capacity battery, a two-seater with a larger capacity, and a two-by-two seater concept with only the lower-capacity battery.
Really, what's going in the mid-engine slot is the battery, essentially occupying the back seat of the two-seater with the motor-generator unit tucked up against the rear axle where it delivers the power and also recovers it under regenerative braking. There's a 664.kWh battery pack option in the truly lightweight option or you can go up to 99.6kWh for the dual-motor, maximum horsepower edition.
The maximum horsepower variant is on the larger battery two-seater concept, which can produce up to a combined 650kW or 781 horsepower. That's sizeable, especially for the sort of small vehicles Lotus is talking about using these powertrains in, such as a 97.2-inch wheelbase. Especially, say, if it was collaborating with Alpine to build lightweight electric sports cars.
There's also a configuration for a four-seater car, where the battery is packed into the base of the chassis as it is in skateboard-style platforms like GM's Ultium. That doesn't exactly mean this will be used in the Lotus SUV, just that there is an option for a backseat. But who's buying a Lotus for the school run?
Lotus' head of vehicle concepts, Richard Rackham, who worked on the Elise back when it made us all lose our tiny minds 25 years ago, said the new lightweight “Project LEVA is as revolutionary now as the Elise architecture was in 1996," in the press release.
"In true Lotus spirit," he added. "Significant weight savings have been achieved throughout, with a focus on ultimate performance, efficiency and safety being engineered into the structure from the outset – for example, by utilizing the vehicle structure as the battery enclosure, having an integrated EDU, eliminating subframes and optimizing the multi-link suspension components.”
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