A Lotus Evija Prototype Got Stuck in America Thanks to COVID

It wasn’t just your hopes and dreams that were put on indefinite hold last year. Lotus’s halo car was too.

byJames Gilboy| UPDATED Dec 6, 2021 9:25 AM
A Lotus Evija Prototype Got Stuck in America Thanks to COVID
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Lotus's electric hypercar, the Evija, has been public knowledge for a good long time now, having dropped back in 2019. Like certain other electric hypercars though, it seemed to be getting no closer with each passing day, making some wonder if it was just vaporware—and if Lotus's renaissance was going off half-cocked. As it turns out, though, the Evija's still on track; it was just forced to sit out a few plays due to COVID-19 lockdowns, which stranded a prototype Evija in the United States.

In an exclusive interview with The Drive, Managing Director of Lotus Cars Matt Windle explained in detail why the Evija dropped off the radar during 2020, and what fans of the fabled British automaker have to look forward to in 2022 among other things. You can read the full interview here.

"We were out in Europe testing, COVID hit March 2020," said Windle. "We had to get those cars back, and we had the show car in the States, it was stuck there. It really screwed up our plans."

"So the timeline, that's gone back. There's no doubt," Windle said, before adding "it's progressing very well."

2022 Lotus Evija, Lotus

Conveniently for Lotus, though, the silence that could have been filled by suspicion toward the Evija was interrupted by the debut of the successor to the Elise and Exige: the Emira. Powered by a combination of AMG turbo-fours or supercharged Toyota V6s, and wrapped in an Evija-lite body, it looks like a genuinely compelling alternative to the Porsche 718. If it comes out as good as the performance cars from Lotus's Geely-backed fellow Polestar, it could force Stuttgart to check its six.

"It's been quite nice, because, in a way, Emira has taken the limelight at the moment, with everything we're doing around Emira," continued Windle. "We've kind of been able to keep Evija going in the background without having to make too much noise about it, however, I've driven it."

"It was great, it was an early car but you just know it's going to drive well. Then we had the car at Goodwood and I got a ride up the hill with Gav and I can honestly say I didn't breathe from the start line to the finish line. It was such an experience that everybody needs to have a go in it, I think."

2022 Lotus Emira, Lotus

Work on the Evija, then, is evidently back underway, with Windle telling us what a couple of test mules are up to nowadays. As far as the immediate future, we know Lotus's new era will dawn no later than Spring 2022 when the first Emiras will be delivered. Beyond that, anything's in the cards—probably even an electric crossover.

"The program's going really well, we've got two cars that are out in Italy now doing high-speed testing so we can approve the top end of that," Windle said. "Battery technology is really coming on, I'm confident that when those cars go into production early next year, we will have a good product."

"For me, the ability to get distracted by stuff is quite high so I'm really trying to keep the focus on getting Evija and Emira to production with the right quality so we satisfy those customers," Windle concluded. "Then what comes after that, it's an open door, really."

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