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Mark H

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Posts posted by Mark H

    • Design study reveals electric race car for 2030
    • E-R9 is “partly driven like a car and partly flown like a fighter jet” – Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist, Lotus
    • Active aero package includes ‘morphing’ body panels and aerodynamic control surfaces
    • EV powertrain with torque-vectoring from Lotus Evija further developed to be driver-adaptable on the move
    • Name, year and colour scheme all carefully chosen in tribute to Lotus’ racing heritage
    • Find out more about the exciting future of Lotus Engineering on the US LOT Blog

    (Hethel, UK – 16 February 2021) – Lotus has unveiled the E-R9, a dramatic new design study for a next-generation pure electric endurance racer that could be on the starting grid of circuits around the world for the 2030 season.

    Finished in striking black and gold – a clear nod to Lotus’ pioneering motorsport heritage that led to 13 Formula 1 championship titles – the EV features a sleek fighter jet-style canopy centrally mounted in a delta-wing upper body. Innovations include advanced active aerodynamics with ‘morphing’ body panels and vertically mounted control surfaces to assist with high-speed cornering.

    The E-R9 has been developed by Lotus Engineering, the globally renowned consultancy division of the business which delivers projects for external clients. The car has been created as a technology showcase of its philosophy, capability and innovative spirit in the fields of advanced electrified powertrains and aerodynamics.

    E-R stands for Endurance Racer, while 9 is the car’s competition number carefully chosen in tribute to Lotus’ racing past. It was in a Lotus Mark IX that the race team made its debut appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours, with company founder Colin Chapman among the drivers competing. The year was 1955, meaning the E-R9 race car concept – if raced in 2030 – would be in celebration of the Mark IX’s 75th anniversary.

    The E-R9 was developed by the engineering team of Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist at Lotus, and Louis Kerr, principal platform engineer on the Lotus Evija pure electric hypercar as well as technical director, GT, Geely Group Motorsports International. Visually it was brought to life by the Lotus Design team, led by Russell Carr, Design Director for Lotus.

    Richard Hill commented: “What we’ve tried to do is to push the boundaries of where we are technically today and extrapolate into the future. The Lotus E-R9 incorporates technologies which we fully expect to develop and be practical. Lotus has an amazing history of developing unique solutions, and we’ve done it many times in motorsport and with our road cars.”

    Chief among the car’s aero innovations are its ‘morphing’ body panels. Located across the delta-wing profile, this adaptability – where active surfaces can change their shape and attitude to the air flow either at the press of a button by the driver or automatically according to performance sensor inputs – would deliver minimum drag on the straights and maximum downforce in the corners. Vertical control surfaces at the rear would generate aerodynamic forces to help the car change direction, without the limitations of grip at the tyre contact patch. The result is a racer that’s partly driven like a car and partly flown like a fighter jet.

    The Lotus E-R9 features an advanced electric drivetrain powering each wheel independently, a system enhanced with torque-vectoring. It builds on technology already integrated on the Lotus Evija pure electric hypercar, though for the E-R9 would be fully adjustable by the driver on the move.

    Louis Kerr commented: “Battery energy density and power density are developing significantly year on year. Before 2030, we’ll have mixed cell chemistry batteries that give the best of both worlds, as well as the ability to ‘hot-swap’ batteries during pitstops.”

    Further details and more images of the Lotus E-R9 can be found in the March issue of evo magazine. On sale from today, it includes a 32-page supplement dedicated to the past, present and exciting future stories of the Lotus Engineering consultancy.

    From the pioneering work of Colin Chapman in the early 1950s, via countless projects which the team has worked on in the decades since – some never revealed before – it’s a fascinating glimpse into a business which has done more than most to shape the automotive industry today.

    For more on the exciting future of Lotus Engineering, read this post on the US LOT Blog by Dan Burge, Commercial Director of the business.

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    • British all-electric hypercar honoured as ‘Product Design of the Year’ at the International Design Awards
    • Awards recognise, celebrate and promote global design visionaries
    • Jury names Evija “the world's most premium sustainable car”
    • All-new ‘Evija in London’ images released to celebrate the award at www.media.lotuscars.com

    (Hethel, UK – 11 February 2021) – The all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar has been recognised in the prestigious International Design Awards (IDAs), winning the ‘Product Design of the Year’ category.

    Established in 2007 by a group of leading international designers, visionaries and entrepreneurs as a response to a lack of pure design awards in their field, the IDAs have a truly global profile. They celebrate smart and sustainable multi-disciplinary designs, promoting outstanding creativity while uncovering emerging talent.

    The award was presented to Lotus after being selected by a panel jury representing each of the five diverse IDA disciplines – Architecture, Fashion, Interior, Product and Graphic Design. The jurors evaluated entries from more than 80 countries, each exhibiting the highest standards of design. The Evija was honoured for its breathtaking ability to stretch boundaries of automotive design.

    Members of the IDA jury commented that the Lotus Evija “paves a way towards a more sustainable future whilst embodying an exceptional aerodynamic aesthetic”, and that “its seductive style elevates the Evija to be the world's most premium sustainable car”.

    The Lotus Evija was built with a simple goal – to be the absolute pinnacle of world-class engineering and the most powerful performance car ‘For The Drivers’. It harnesses Lotus’ technical expertise, fine-tuned over more than seven decades, to create a masterclass of automotive excellence.

    Russell Carr, Director of Design, Lotus, said: “Everyone at Lotus is honoured to receive this award. The Evija is an incredibly important car for Lotus; it is inspired by our innovative past and is the ultimate statement of intent for our ambitious and exciting future. It also sets the standard for a new Lotus design language.”

    To celebrate the IDA award, Lotus has released a set of new images of the Lotus Evija. Shot on the streets of London prior to the current UK lockdown restrictions, they reveal every facet of the hypercar’s stunning design. Find them at www.media.lotuscars.com

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  1. This year marks the end of an era for Lotus Cars. As the business moves towards an exciting future as outlined in recent announcements, time is being called on production of the iconic Elise and the genre-creating Exige, after 25 and 21 years respectively.

    In honour of these two legendary models, Lotus has announced a range of five new Final Edition cars which have higher power, greater standard specification and – in true Lotus style – light weight.

    These cars are the ultimate versions of the Elise and Exige, and mark the pinnacle of technical development to showcase more than two decades of engineering excellence. To be built in limited numbers, each is a fitting tribute to performance cars that are, almost uniquely, legends in their own lifetime.

    Five new variants – two Elise and three Exige – have been created and Lotus is anticipating high demand from global markets as customers rush to buy a slice of history. They are available with unique paint colours, new exterior decals, new wheel finishes, new trim and Final Edition badging.

    The improvements continue under the skin, a fact reflected in new names which reveal higher power outputs on three of the five – the Elise Sport 240, Elise Cup 250, Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430.

    The Elise and Exige Final Edition cars are on sale now, with the MSRP for selected markets listed below. For other markets please contact the appropriate official Lotus Cars importer.

     

    UK

    (inc VAT)

    Germany

    (inc VAT)

    France

    (inc VAT)

    Italy

    (inc VAT)

    Eurozone

    (ex VAT)

    Switzerland

    (inc VAT)

    Elise Sport 240

    £45,500

    € 56,500

    € 56,980

    € 60,290

    € 47,479

    CHF 61,000

    Elise Cup 250

    £50,900

    € 64,000

    € 64,500

    € 67,940

    € 53,750

    CHF 68,500

    Exige Sport 390

    £64,000

    € 79,910

    € 80,590

    € 84,290

    € 67,151

    CHF 85,200

    Exige Sport 420

    £79,900

    € 99,500

    € 100,400

    € 104,460

    € 83,610

    CHF 106,000

    Exige Cup 430

    £100,600

    € 129,000

    € 130,100

    € 134,660

    € 108,403

    CHF 136,000

     

    As revealed last month, the Lotus Evora has also entered its final year of production. Further announcements about plans to celebrate this model will be announced in due course.

     

    The Lotus Elise Final Edition range in detail

    The Elise is a truly iconic Lotus, with 2021 serving as the 25th and final year of production. These two new Final Edition cars are a fitting tribute, and the exclusivity and rarity will no doubt ensure high demand and guarantee future classic status. They retain all the core values and features that have made the Elise such an iconic car – a small, light and agile two-seater powered by a supercharged and chargecooled 1.8-litre, four-cylinder mid-mounted engine.

    As standard, both Final Edition cars receive the most extensive list of interior and exterior features ever. The biggest change is the all-new TFT digital dashboard with the choice of two screens, one with a conventional set of dials and the other a race car-style with digital speed read-out and an engine speed bar.

    The steering wheel is of a new design and clad in leather and alcantara. It features a flat base to create better leg clearance for taller drivers and to aid ingress and egress. Every car comes with a Final Edition build plaque, plus new seat trim and stitch patterns.

    A new selection of colours has been introduced for both the Elise Sport 240 and the Elise Cup 250, harking back to some of the iconic colour schemes from the Elise and Lotus’ past. These include Azure Blue, the colour used in the first production car images for media in 1996; Black, the brand colour of the motorsport division when the company ran the successful Autobytel Lotus Elise Championship race series; and Racing Green, an homage to the colour of the original car unveiled at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show.

     

    Lotus Elise Sport 240 Final Edition

    The Elise Sport 240 Final Edition gains an extra 23bhp from a revised calibration and so replaces the Sport 220. Delivering 240bhp and 244Nm of torque, the engine has been tuned to provide stunning real-world performance and class-leading efficiency. The 0-60mph sprint is completed in 4.1 seconds thanks to a power-to-weight ratio of 260bhp per tonne. CO2 emissions of 177 g/km are extremely low for the performance on offer.

    The car comes with 10-spoke Anthracite lightweight forged alloy wheels as standard (6J x 16” front and 8J x 17” rear). They’re 0.5kg lighter than the wheels on the Elise Sport 220 and shod with Yokohama V105 tyres (195/50 R16 front and 225/45 R17 rear).

    Further weight savings can be achieved with an extensive range of optional carbon fibre panels, including sill covers and engine cover, lithium-ion battery plus a lightweight polycarbonate rear window. With all the lightweight options chosen, the mass of the Elise Sport 240 reduces further from 922kg to 898kg.

     

    Lotus Elise Cup 250 Final Edition

    Key to the Elise Cup 250’s performance are its aerodynamics and downforce linked to its power and light weight. With aerodynamically optimised components such as the front splitter, rear wing, rear diffuser and side floor extension, this Final Edition car produces 66kg of downforce at 100mph and 155kg of downforce at is maximum speed of 154mph.

    The car is shod in new 10-spoke Diamond Cut ultra-lightweight M Sport forged wheels (7J x 16” front and 8J x 17” rear) with Yokohama A052 tyres (195/50 R16 front and 225/45 R17 rear). The extensive list of standard equipment includes Bilstein sport dampers and adjustable anti-roll bars, to help maximise the aerodynamic downforce available and boost grip whilst maintaining the legendary Elise handling. Also fitted as standard is a lightweight lithium-ion battery and polycarbonate rear window.

    Other lightweight carbon fibre options, as on the Elise Sport 240 Final Edition, are available reducing the mass to an unladen weight of just 931kg.

     

    The Lotus Exige Final Edition range in detail

    The Exige range is celebrated in its final year of production with three new models – the Exige Sport 390, Exige Sport 420 and Exige Cup 430.

    Like the Elise, new equipment for this final year of production includes unique paint choices, new decals and two new wheel finishes. All versions of the Exige also come with the TFT digital dashboard, Final Edition build plaque, new steering wheel, plus new seat trim and stitch patterns.

    All models are powered by a 3.5-litre supercharged V6 with a baffled sump, mounted in a lightweight and rigid chassis that provides thrilling acceleration and instant response. Pure unassisted steering offers exquisite feedback and vivid communication at all speeds. The Exige benefits from a bespoke version of Lotus’ pioneering bonded aluminium chassis, a unique rear subframe and forged aluminium double wishbone suspension at the rear.

    Like the Elise Final Edition range, the Exige is also available in a selection of new colours representing significant cars in its history. These include Metallic White, from the unveiling of the V6 Exige at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2011, and Metallic Orange, which was used on the first press fleet car in 2000 and the and the Exige GT3 concept from the Geneva Motor Show 2007.

     

    Lotus Exige Sport 390 Final Edition

    The new Exige Sport 390 replaces the outgoing Exige Sport 350. The power increase of 47bhp comes from a revised calibration linked to the Edelbrock supercharger with chargecooling, to produce 397bhp and 420Nm. Linked to a light weight of 1,138kg, the Exige Sport 390 accelerates to 60mph in just 3.7 seconds before reaching a top speed of 172mph.

    The advanced aerodynamics are carefully balanced, generating 70kg of downforce at the rear and 45kg up front for a total of 115kg at top speed. To put this power on to the road, the Exige Sport 390 has 10-spoke silver lightweight forged alloy wheels (7.5J x 17” front and 10J x 18” rear) and Michelin PS4 tyres (205/45 ZR17 front and 265/35 ZR18 rear).

     

    Lotus Exige Sport 420 Final Edition

    The Exige Sport 420 Final Edition gains an extra 10bhp and replaces the outgoing Sport 410. It is the fastest Exige available, topping out at 180mph, with 0-60mph completed in 3.3 seconds. With its light weight of 1,110kg and 420bhp (giving a power to weight of 378bhp per tonne) and 427Nm from the supercharged and chargecooled V6 engine, coupled with a flat torque curve and maximum power available to maximum revs, the Exige is regarded as the most complete driving car of its class.

    The list of standard equipment is impressive. Front and rear Eibach anti-roll bars are adjustable and the three-way adjustable Nitron dampers allow for different high and low speed compression settings. The car rides on 10-spoke Anthracite lightweight forged alloy wheels (7.5J x 17” front, 10J x 18” rear) with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear). Stopping power comes from AP Racing brakes with forged, four-piston calipers and two-piece J-hook brake discs. With a higher thermal capacity and improved bite, these discs offer improved debris clearance and reduced vibration for more consistent pedal feel and greater, fade-free performance.

     

    Lotus Exige Cup 430 Final Edition

    The Cup 430 remains the range-topping Exige. Already legendary in its short lifetime, it is regarded as being one of the world’s quickest real-world sports car. It is not just suited to its driver’s favourite road, but also at home on a challenging circuit.

    Chargecooled for a consistent 430bhp and capable of generating 171kg of downforce, this is the road and track car to rule them all. The radical aero package is not for show; the Exige Cup 430 generates as much downforce at 100mph as the Exige Sport 390 does at 170mph. Weighing just 1,110kg the power-to-weight ratio hits a staggering 387bhp per tonne. With 440Nm of torque from 2,600rpm, 0-60mph is completed in 3.2 seconds on the way to a top speed of 174mph. Downforce is balanced at all speeds, with the car generating 76kg at the front and a further 95kg at the rear, giving a total of 171kg.

    Everything about the Exige Cup 430 is focused upon performance whether that’s driving on the road or track.

    Every car comes with motorsport-grade carbon fibre panels include the front splitter, front access panel, roof, diffuser surround, enlarged air-intake side pods, one-piece tailgate and race-derived rear wing. In addition to revised steering arm geometry to increase bump steer, handling characteristics can be altered via the Nitron three-way adjustable dampers (high and low speed compression plus rebound adjustment) and Eibach adjustable front and rear anti-roll bars, both as standard. Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres (215/45 ZR17 front and 285/30 ZR18 rear) are fitted to ultra-lightweight 10 spoke diamond cut lightweight forged alloy wheels (7.5J x 17” front, 10J x 18” rear).

    Braking comes via forged, four-piston AP Racing brake calipers and higher thermal capacity two-piece J-hook brake discs front and rear. The system is designed to give improved bite and reduced vibration, delivering consistent pedal feel and fade-free stopping power lap after lap.

    With a high-flow titanium exhaust system as standard, the Cup 430 sounds like no other supercar at speed. Motorsport-derived variable traction control linked directly to the ECU helps maximise traction on corner exit by managing the giant surge of torque. It’s controlled via a six-position rotary switch located on the steering column. Only active with the ESP stability control switched off, the five pre-set traction levels are displayed on the instrument cluster.

    When production of the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora end later this year, the final combined production total will be in the region of 55,000 cars. Together they account for more than half of Lotus’ total road car production since the first Lotus in 1948.

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  2. Following the news today that Phil Popham is to step down from his position at Lotus, the company confirms that Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, is the newly appointed Managing Director, Lotus Cars.

    Welcoming Matt into his new role, Phil Popham said: “Matt is an excellent fit for the senior leadership role at Lotus. He has been an excellent colleague to me since I joined the company, and is a popular and very effective member of the Lotus Executive team. He’s a long-standing ‘Lotus Man’ and I’m proud to welcome him as my successor. We will continue to work closely together in the coming weeks as I hand over the reins and pass the baton on to the next phase of the Lotus story.”

    The handover process is underway, with Matt’s appointment as Managing Director effective immediately.  Phil Popham will remain with the company until the end of March 2021.

    Matt Windle, 49, started his career with Lotus in 1998 as a CAD designer. Before re-joining the company to head up the Engineering division in 2017, Matt worked internationally with both high and low-volume manufacturers, including Caterham, Tesla and Volvo. With more than 30 years’ automotive experience behind him, Matt’s most recent role saw him utilise rich technical expertise and leadership experience to head up both the Lotus engineering department and the Lotus Engineering consultancy. In his new role as Managing Director, Matt will lead Lotus in to the next chapter of its continually innovative and exciting 73-year history.

    Commenting on his appointment, Windle said: “It is an honour to be appointed Managing Director of Lotus. Of the many manufacturers I have worked with over the years, Lotus has been the one closest to my heart. I have a history with the company dating back more than 20 years and I really know my way around the business. This period since 2018 has been the most exciting of my career and the scale of the global opportunity ahead of us is both inspiring and all-consuming.

    He added: “I am proud to follow Phil into the leadership position and he has left a great foundation for me and the team to build on. I thank Phil for his friendship and support of the past years. I am proud to represent our shareholders Geely and Etika as I continue to work with our talented and dedicated team to fulfil the ambition for this wonderful brand and business around the world.”

    Mr. Feng Qingfeng, CEO, Group Lotus, added: “Our future is extremely bright indeed, with new designs, new technologies and new markets for us to leverage with this precious brand. I thank Phil Popham for his dedication in bringing new stability and governance to the business following the restructure of 2018. I also welcome Matt Windle into the role of Managing Director. I very much look forward to continuing to work with him and the UK team as we expand both Lotus and Lotus Engineering across the world into a new era for the business.”

    The first two projects that Lotus Cars will see through to completion under Matt Windle will be the Evija electric hypercar and the all-new, yet to be named, Type 131 sports car.  Both will be built from new factories at a comprehensively revitalised Hethel UK headquarters, and both are programmes Matt knows intimately from his tenure at the head of the Engineering function.  Look out for news on both these vehicles and more in 2021.

    New leadership appointments for the Engineering department and consultancy at Lotus will be the subject of a future announcement.

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  3. Phil Popham is to step down from his position as Lotus Cars CEO.

    Phil, who joined Lotus in the year of its 70th birthday in 2018, has decided to leave the company to pursue personal projects.

    He has guided the company through a truly pivotal period in its history, bringing new governance and direction to the business following its restructuring under the stewardship of Geely.

    Lotus Cars’ Vision80 strategy has been implemented under Phil’s watch, which will see transformational change across the company in its eighth decade of automotive innovation.  Hethel in Norfolk – Lotus’ home and headquarters since 1966 – has undergone a complete transformation with unprecedented investment during Phil’s tenure, with wholesale upgrades across the site, a new sports car factory and hypercar assembly now ready for operation.

    In 2019, Phil spearheaded the launch of the Lotus Evija – the world’s first all-electric British hypercar. In his own words, he described Evija as “a calling card for what is to come from Lotus in the next decade. It signals a new tech future, a new design direction and a new dawn for our 70-year-old-start-up.”

    Phil also guided the company through an extremely difficult year in 2020, carefully managing Lotus’ approach and strategy in response to the pandemic as it has continued to disrupt much of the world. The business has entered 2021 very much on track and intact, despite the significant challenges of the past 12 months.

    Phil will now spend some time passing the baton on to the next phase of the Lotus story. The Lotus Cars family around the world – US LOT – wishes Phil every success in his future endeavours.

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    • New series sports car production confirmed for Hethel, UK
    • £100m+ investment into all-new manufacturing facilities
    • Further job creation to support increased volumes
    • End of production planned for Evora, Exige and Elise in 2021

    (Hethel, UK – 25 January 2021) – A new series of sports cars is confirmed, with prototype production of the Lotus Type 131 to commence this year from a world-class manufacturing facility in Hethel, Norfolk.

    The new manufacturing investment is part of Lotus’ Vision80 strategy, which will also see the relocation of two Lotus sub-assembly facilities into one efficient central operation in Norwich city to support higher volumes.

    To accompany the £100-million-plus investment into Hethel’s facilities, Lotus will be recruiting some 250 new employees. This is in addition to the 670 to have joined Lotus since September 2017, when shareholders Geely and Etika took ownership of the company.

    New recruits are required for roles in engineering and manufacturing for both Lotus Cars and the world-renowned engineering consultancy, Lotus Engineering – which opens its Advanced Technology Centre in Warwick later this year.

    To acknowledge the forthcoming family of performance cars, Lotus has released an image that hints at the new generation of products that will follow Elise, Exige and Evora, which have entered their final year of production in 2021.  A full programme of activities is planned to celebrate the current range of three sports cars, starting with the elder, the iconic Lotus Elise.

    The Lotus Elise was unveiled in 1995, revolutionising the low volume sports car industry with its pioneering use of extruded and bonded aluminium, high-tech composites and lightweight knowhow.

    Using the technology pioneered in the Elise, the Exige, launched in 2000, quickly became the epitome of the ‘race car for the road’.  The Exige demonstrated a rare ability to give the driver an involving yet accessible experience on the road, while still managing to lap the most demanding tracks of the world quickly, with the safety and progressiveness expected of a Lotus.

    The Evora, unveiled in 2008, returned Lotus to the lucrative super-sports car sector as an award-winning and versatile road car that was more driver-focused than its peers. In motorsport, the Evora was successful too, winning national GT championships around the world and gaining a podium at Le Mans.

    Future Lotus cars are taking this learning and further developing it to ensure the preservation of that all-important DNA, with the overriding criteria of being ‘For The Drivers’.

    Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, said: “This year will be hugely significant for Lotus with new facilities coming on stream, a new sports car entering production and new levels of efficiency and quality that only a new car design and factory can deliver. Despite the continuing global challenges, Lotus has emerged from 2020 strong and on track in the delivery of our Vision80 business plan.” 

    He added: “As our Vision80 strategy illustrates, Lotus is all about looking forward, and our future is full of continuous innovation. In 2021, however, we will be reflecting on the legacy of our current range, starting with the Elise, a sports car that genuinely revolutionised the automotive industry, not only because it is a legend-in-its-own-lifetime but also for its impact on car design and technology.”

    Matt Windle, Lotus’ Executive Director, Engineering, said: “Our renowned team of engineers, designers and technicians who are working on the new cars are acutely aware of the legacy from the Elise, Exige and Evora.  Indeed, many were around when Elise was being developed. Members of our team, old and new, are now busy blending the learnings of the past with the innovations of today and tomorrow, to ensure our future cars truly move the game on but remain firmly committed to Lotus values.”

    The Elise, Exige and Evora have contributed greatly to the Lotus business over the years, and by the time the last of these models leaves the assembly line, they will have sold a combined circa 55,000 units.

    Lotus has created multiple automotive legends over the last 73 years, and with the Evija hypercar and new Type 131 sports car, a new dawn of innovation and legend-making is breaking over Hethel.

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    • New Norwich facility begins production of iconic lightweight Lotus chassis
    • Programme to move Lotus’ lightweight structures and steel fabrication units to one facility nears completion and on time
    • New facility to employ 125 staff 

     

    (Hethel, UK – 21 January 2021)The first extruded and bonded aluminium chassis to be built at Lotus’ new manufacturing facility at Hurricane Way, Norwich, has been completed.

    The unit, a chassis for the legendary Lotus Elise, was built for the validation and quality checking of the new manufacturing process. Although not destined for a final vehicle, it will remain at the factory for testing. As chassis manufacturing volumes grow steadily over the next few months, it will help ensure that the processes adhere to the globally recognised quality standards expected.

    The new 12,300 m2 facility has the capacity to build several thousand chassis per year. It will produce around 1,500 units for the Lotus Elise, Exige and Evora during 2021.

    Set to employ 125 highly skilled operatives, technicians and engineers, the site also houses the welding and fabrication of sub-frames, suspension components and other key parts for Lotus cars.

    The investment from Lotus, which has its headquarters and sports car manufacturing 10 miles away in Hethel, Norfolk, further demonstrates its commitment to the region.

    Lotus announced in July 2020 that as part of its expansion programme it had outgrown existing facilities in Worcester and Norwich, and so would bring together both production processes into one new combined location – Hurricane Way, in the north of Norwich. Tooling has already been upgraded in readiness for a new range of Lotus sports cars to be launched in the coming years.

    David Hewitt, Executive Director of Operations, Lotus Cars, said: “The production of this first lightweight chassis is a significant landmark for the new Hurricane Way facility. I would like to thank everyone who has worked extremely hard to ensure that, despite challenging circumstances, it is up and running and on schedule.”

    He continued: “In parallel, we are close to finishing our new assembly facility at our Hethel HQ. By the end of the year, the whole of Lotus’ sports car manufacturing facilities and processes will be either new or vastly improved. This will give us solid foundations to maintain our leadership in the rapidly changing low volume automotive assembly industry.”

    Those interested in joining Lotus should visit uslot.lotuscars.com

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  4. (Paris, France – 14 January 2021) As part of the Alpine Business Unit development, Groupe Renault and Group Lotus have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to study a number of areas of cooperation, including the joint development of an EV sportscar.

    The Alpine and Lotus teams will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for the joint engineering, design and development of an EV sportscar by leveraging the resources, expertise and facilities of the respective entities in both France and the UK.

    Alpine and Lotus will also explore the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise. A collaboration to leverage Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula One to Formula E and Endurance is also under study.

    Laurent Rossi, CEO Alpine, said: “The signing of this MoU with Lotus shows the lean and smart approach we’re implementing as part of the new Alpine brand strategy. Both brands have an amazing legacy and we are most excited to start this work together, from engineering tailored solutions to developing a next-generation EV sports car. This collaboration along with our transformation mark the beginning of a new era in which we’ll be taking the Alpine name and line-up to the future. We’re putting F1 at the heart of our business, leveraging our in-house expertise and best-in-class partners such as Lotus to inject our cars with leading-edge performance, technology and motorisation”.

    Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, added: “Today’s announcement is the first step in what is set to be a hugely rewarding collaboration between our iconic brands. We are proud to be working with Groupe Renault in this collaboration – sharing Lotus’ technical expertise and abilities, and leveraging our long track record of successful collaborations.  Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sportscars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena.  It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sportscar is hugely exciting for our companies, our fans and customers around the world.  The joint-services element of our agreement will additionally make our engineering expertise available to those wishing to engage our innovations.”

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  5. Tamas Vizin was crowned Lotus Cup Europe champion at Zolder as the 2020 season, necessarily shortened due to the Covid pandemic, drew to a close. The Hungarian’s Exige V6 was the class of the field, winning twice at the Nürburgring, then claiming a third successive victory at Zolder, but was denied a clean sweep in the final race by the Evora of local driver Peter Verlinde. By following-up on his 2016 title from the Production class, Vizin becomes only the second driver to claim titles in more than one class, emulating John Rasse.

    The Production class title was won by championship stalwart Jean-Pierre Genoux-Prachex, who denied rival and erstwhile points leader Dave Carr title glory in the final race. In doing so, the Frenchman claimed second place in the overall standings, a closely-run battle with just four points separating Genoud-Prachex, Verlinde and Carr. With a brace of Production victories at Zolder, Genoud-Prachex also claimed the most class wins, the Briton and Sweden’s Cai Cederholm taking one apiece in Germany.

    The 2-Eleven/Open class title was taken by Nathalie Genoud-Prachex, who joined her husband on the champions’ podium and signed off her eighth Lotus Cup Europe season with her distinctive pink 2-Eleven in style.

    The Covid pandemic presented a huge challenge for the championship organisers and drivers to overcome, from restricted travel to regular testing and quarantining upon their return. Everyone coped admirably to ensure that the shortened season, which once again supported the DTM, fulfilled the objective of a fun, sociable and safe environment for Lotus enthusiasts to compete on track. We wish all the drivers, teams and their families as well as everyone else who has supported Lotus Cup Europe in 2020 a safe and healthy winter and look forward to a new season, which is scheduled to commence at Hockenheim in May.

     

    https://www.lotuscupeurope.com/news/tamas-vizin-crowned-champion-as-lotus-cup-europe-races-on

     

     

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  6. Despite the many global challenges of 2020, Lotus Cars reports today that its new car retail sales increased by 4.4% compared to 2019.

    Sales increased in many key markets around the world as the transformation of Lotus continues. Highlights include growth in the USA, Germany, Italy, UK, China, Singapore, Netherlands and others.

    The most popular Lotus model globally was the Elise, followed by the Exige and Evora.

    Concluding 2020, Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said: “Last year was extremely tough in many aspects of business and life – the most challenging we have seen.  Huge thanks to all our staff, retailers, partners and, of course, customers around the world for supporting Lotus through 2020.”

    He added: “Despite the many challenges, our sales showed positive growth in the year, underlining the significant transformation now underway at Lotus. Our recent performance also bodes very well for the future, as we continue to progress our Vision80 strategy with the Evija hypercar and our new sports car,
    which debuts this year.”

     

    Lotus Cars retail sales highlights for 2020:

     

    Region

    % Increase

    North America

    32%

    Greater China

    28%

    EU

    9%

    UK

    6%

    Global sales

    4.4%

     

     

    Ranking by new car retail sales volume

    Country

    1

    Germany

    2

    USA

    3

    UK

    4

    Japan

    5

    France

    6

    Italy

    = 7

    Greater China

    = 7

    Australia

    9

    Switzerland

    10

    Belgium

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    • Project BattCon is a pilot project introducing containerised battery test facilities
    • Designed to help meet increasing demand for new UK-based battery testing to support EV supply chain and OEMs
    • Containers will be in operation at Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk, plus the new Lotus Advanced Technology Centre in Wellesbourne, West Midlands
    • Provides fast, cost-effective and efficient solution for companies developing new batteries

    (Hethel, UK – 19 November 2020) – Lotus Engineering is launching a pilot containerised battery testing facility to assess energy storage solutions for the booming EV sector.

    It will allow Lotus Engineering to carry out various battery cell, module and pack characterisation tests, performance evaluations, and component and lifetime testing under controlled conditions. Early feasibility study support and validation of mature designs for implementation into new vehicles will also be available.

    The project has been named BattCon, an abbreviation of Battery Containerised Test Facility. The ‘containers’ are individual walk-in laboratories and will be in operation at Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk, as well as the new Lotus Advanced Technology Centre in Wellesbourne, West Midlands. Each is the size of a standard 40ft shipping container and so can easily be packed up and transported as a mobile testing unit, available to Lotus Engineering customers wherever they are. Lotus has three operational units as part of the pilot scheme.

    For clients, Lotus Engineering will offer an EV safety-compliant workshop facility with specialist staff experienced in testing batteries. Companies new to the EV field, and those who would otherwise need to invest in additional test facilities, will have access to a fast, efficient and cost-effective solution to develop new technologies and speed up their route to market. For Lotus itself, the new technology will support ambitious plans to launch a new range of performance vehicles.

    Lotus Engineering has a wealth of experience in the design and engineering of EVs and other alternative propulsion powertrains dating back two decades. While many of the programmes remain confidential, the consultancy’s work on the Tesla Roadster (2008-12) is the best-known example.

    Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “As the race intensifies for automotive and other sectors to develop new and novel battery technologies, there will be increased demand for suitable testing facilities. Project BattCon begins to address this problem by evaluating how Lotus Engineering can meet the battery testing opportunities for the UK supply chain and OEMs.”

    Services available include capacity determination, resistance mapping, current and power mapping, open circuit voltage determination and heat capacity. Lifetime testing is comprised of low-voltage cycling, high-voltage cycling, self-discharge determination, storage ageing, cycle ageing, drive cycle ageing and orientation. One of the three Lotus containers features an ambient chamber, the temperature of which can be raised or lowered to replicate climatic extremes around the world.

    The pilot project will conclude in spring 2021 and is co-funded by the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC); Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation; the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Upon completion, the project will be evaluated and a decision taken about its future.

    Lotus Engineering is the consultancy division of Lotus and provides a comprehensive range of technical services to many of the world’s best-known automotive manufacturers and suppliers. In 2020 it is celebrating 40 years since it was formally incorporated.

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    • Exclusive new images of the Evija all-electric hypercar released
    • Each shot by a different photographer, specially invited to a private photoshoot at Duke of London
    • Lotus celebrates as the Evija wins at the 2020 MUSE Global Design Awards

    (Hethel, UK – 3 November 2020) – Lotus is celebrating the all-electric Evija hypercar’s latest award win with a gallery of new images taken during a unique and inspiring collaboration with some of the UK’s most creative photographic talent.

    The celebrations mark the results of the prestigious 2020 MUSE Global Design Awards, where the Lotus Evija took overall victory in the Automotive Transportation category.

    The eight exclusive photoshoots took place in and around Duke of London, a former 1930s soap factory in West London transformed into a stunning motoring venue and tribute to all things automotive. Lotus invited each photographer to attend for one-on-one private access to the Evija, allowing them to choose how and where to shoot the hypercar – in their own style – in any location around the site. The results are now available at their respective Instagram feeds.

    Those invited to attend were:

    Alex Carmichael commented: “A huge thanks to Lotus for giving me the opportunity to spend time with the Evija. It’s not every day you get the chance to photograph the next generation of electric hypercars. I hope my photos do the car justice, and I’m looking forward to the next steps in its development before seeing them on the streets.”

    Russell Carr, Director of Design, Lotus, was hugely impressed with the unique and creative ways in which the photographers shot the car. “When you have spent thousands of hours looking something from every angle – as I have with the Evija – it’s fascinating to see how talented and creative people choose to photograph it when they’re seeing it for the first time. There is some amazing work in this collection and the design of the car really shines through.”

    Russell and the Lotus design team have been honoured at the prestigious 2020 MUSE Design Awards, where the Evija was voted number one in the Automotive Transportation Design category. The international competition is judged by a grand jury of 56 design professionals representing 22 countries.

    The Lotus Evija marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of an iconic and much-loved British sports car brand. Satisfying a brief to be the most powerful and dynamically accomplished road car in the history of the company, the Evija represents a thrilling new high water mark for Lotus driving performance.

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  7.  

    (Goodwood, West Sussex, UK – 16 October 2020)The all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar makes its dynamic public debut at Goodwood SpeedWeek this weekend.  The Evija will be in action on the historic race track and will be taking part in a variety of high-octane activities, including the Supercar Run.

    Three pre-production examples of the Evija are supporting SpeedWeek, one complete in a vibrant Lotus ‘Solaris Yellow’ finish and two prototypes wrapped in stunning black and gold, recalling iconic Lotus liveries of the past.  The prototypes also feature a stylised image of the famous West Sussex circuit, accompanied by the words ‘Lotus x Goodwood: Creating History since 1948’ – acknowledging the year of the very first Lotus car and the first motorsport event at Goodwood.

    Among the first outside of the engineering team to experience Evija is Lord March (Charlie, 25, son of the event host, the Duke of Richmond), who commented: “The Evija is unbelievable – the power, the speed, I’ve never experienced anything like it – it was exceptional. This new dawn of electric hypercars brings ultimate motoring to life for a new generation and a younger audience. The advancement in electric cars over the last 10 years is astonishing.  There is a huge amount of growth potential for these machines to continue allowing us to keep enjoying and driving high performance cars.  Lotus continues to appeal to both the inner driver and the inner child in all of us – so much fun, and ultimately for the driver to control and enjoy.”

    Gavan Kershaw, Director of Vehicle Attributes, Lotus, added: “We’re having a great time demonstrating the Evija here at Goodwood.  Bringing the cars to an event like this is a welcome break from the hundreds of hours spent on proving grounds, where there’s a huge amount of open space and long straights to test the car’s performance limits. Goodwood is a fast and flowing circuit with numerous undulations in the surface, and so is a fantastic test and demonstration for the Evija as it’s the type of environment where many owners will use the car.”

    He added: “We hope the TV coverage of the event will show people what an amazing vehicle it is, and we can’t wait to be back next year.”

    Car fans can see the Lotus Evija on the ITV network, with multiple programmes on different channels across the weekend. See local TV listings for full details.

    Lotus has also published a new US LOT Blog on the Evija, hosted on the Lotus media website here. It details how elements of the Evija have been consciously designed to meet the exacting standards of company founder Colin Chapman, and how that helps make the car a true Lotus.

    More than 50 historic Lotus cars are scheduled to take part in Goodwood SpeedWeek. They include:

    • Lotus 25 – the car driven by Jim Clark car during the 1963 F1 season when he won the Drivers’ Championship
    • Lotus 18 – the car in which Sir Stirling Moss won the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix
    • Lotus 49 – the car in which Graham Hill won the Monaco Grands Prix in 1968 and 1969
    • Lotus 72-5 – Emerson Fittipaldi’s car from the 1970 season
    • Lotus 72-7 – Emerson Fittipaldi’s main car from the 1972-73 seasons, and the car in which he won the most F1 races – five in total
    • Lotus 79 – Mario Andretti’s main car from the 1978 season

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    • Latest investment includes all-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell, plus upgrades to other engineering facilities and workshops
    • Famous Hethel track has also been upgraded
    • Designed to support Lotus Engineering consultancy as it further expands services and client base
    • Complements investment in new advanced technology centre as Lotus Engineering’s new HQ in Wellesbourne, Warwickshire

    (Hethel, UK – 12 October 2020) – Lotus is revealing the latest upgrades to its Hethel site, which will help drive a new era of success for Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business.

    The multi-million-pound investment is the latest chapter in the ongoing transformation of the Lotus company and brand. Site enhancements include the installation of numerous all-new and upgraded state-of-the-art engineering test facilities. These will be used by Lotus Engineering as it expands its portfolio of consultancy services and its client base, and  will complement the Lotus Cars business as it prepares to deliver a new range of performance cars – the first of which will be unveiled next year.

    Improvements include an all-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell, plus upgrades to the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) test and development cells, the Propulsion Prototype build workshop and the vehicle emissions lab.

    The famous 2.2-mile Hethel test track – the scene of so much historic race and road car development since Lotus moved to the Norfolk site in 1966 – has also been upgraded.

    These latest improvements are in addition to the all-new sports car factory which will be home to an all-new Lotus model starting next year, and in addition to the new assembly hall dedicated to the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar. Both will be manufacturing new Lotus cars during 2021.

    In 2020 Lotus Engineering celebrates 40 years since it was formally incorporated. The consultancy provides a comprehensive range of technical services to many of the world’s best-known automotive manufacturers and suppliers. While much of its work and list of clients remains confidential, its ‘greatest hits’ include some of the best-known and most-loved performance cars of all time such as the Lotus Cortina, the Lotus Carlton, the Lotus Sunbeam and numerous others.

    Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “We see huge potential to put Lotus Engineering right at the cutting edge of automotive innovation, further building on our core competencies as well as increasing our capability in growth areas.”

    He continued: “An example is electrification; the challenges around weight reduction and improved dynamics are a major factor in the quest for more efficient electric vehicles, and those link back directly to the Lotus core values. What we continue to learn on the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar programme creates knowledge and experience which we can use to help other businesses.”

    As announced in July this year, Lotus Engineering’s new home will be on the Wellesbourne campus of the University of Warwick, part of an all-new advanced technology centre for Lotus being established in the West Midlands.

    The growth strategy for Lotus Engineering sees the services it offers categorised under three pillars:

    • EXPERIENCE: active noise, Human Machine Interface (HMI), user interface, user experience, cockpit, infotainment, driver engagement
    • PLATFORM: concepts, structures, architectures, propulsion, manufacturing
    • DYNAMICS: ride and handling, lightweighting, aerodynamics, simulation, chassis systems

    Further details on the improvements at Hethel are listed below.

    All-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell
    An all-new facility at Lotus, it allows engineers to test EV powertrains including the motor, gearbox and supporting electronics. Lotus software can communicate with the motor control system and load the powertrain as if it were in a vehicle, to test, develop and validate its performance.

    Upgraded Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) test and development cells
    These are used for ICE development, calibration and durability testing, and have been upgraded to enable Lotus to deliver comprehensive world-class test data to the latest international standards. Specific improvements have been made to further improve capability and future-proofing on complex test profiles, calibration requirements, high-speed data acquisition and multiple channel configurations.

    Upgraded Propulsion Prototype build workshop
    This workshop allows Lotus engineers to build and test new engines, transmissions and EDUs. It has been completely redesigned and re-equipped with all-new hardware and new IT systems to improve the range of services offered. Today it is a world-class and highly efficient location ensuring high-quality prototype building.

    Upgraded vehicle emissions lab
    New equipment has been added to allow Lotus engineers to test and validate vehicles to the latest emissions standards, not just for the UK and Europe but in all international markets.

    Upgraded Hethel test track
    New additions to the famous circuit include new protective trackside barriers; new CCTV cameras to enable full track visibility; new safety systems including an upgraded entrance/exit barrier control system; and improved fire protection around the circuit.

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  8. British Gas Business and Lotus agree new green energy supply deal – the first step in a partnership announced with Centrica to decarbonise the legendary sports car maker

    (Hethel, UK – 8 October 2020) – Lotus and British Gas Business have embarked on a new green electricity deal, which sees the UK’s largest energy supplier provide renewable power to the sports car maker’s headquarters and supporting facilities.

    The contract, which began on 1 October, is REGO-backed (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin), where the power is purchased from 100% renewable sources, ensuring the electricity used across Lotus’ UK sites is carbon neutral. As a flexible contract, Lotus can also develop its own renewable assets on sites to self-support its power needs and further its green credentials.

    In May, Centrica (the parent company of British Gas) and Lotus announced a partnership to develop a new model for electric vehicle (EV) ownership that fully integrates future mobility and energy. Together, the companies aim to redefine and integrate the relationship between consumers, cars and electricity – controlled by smart devices at home and on the move – which will result in more efficient energy usage, carbon and cost savings.

    The companies are also set to introduce a comprehensive sustainability programme across Lotus, leveraging innovative, low-carbon technologies and mitigating the impacts of key business operations from manufacturing through to sales and supporting functions.

    “This is an exciting new partnership which has got off to a fast start with this new supply contract announced today. Green power supplies offer an efficient means to supercharge commercial sustainability, and there is much more to follow from Centrica and Lotus as we plot the carmaker’s course to zero carbon,” said Carl Bayliss, Vice President of Mobility at Centrica.    

    “This is a huge first step for us in our commitment to becoming a 100% carbon neutral business. Next steps include working across our supply chain as part of our net-zero pledge, launching more zero-emissions vehicles as introduced with the Lotus Evija hypercar, and ensuring these vehicles are manufactured and distributed using the latest, sustainable technology and techniques,” said Uday Senapati, Lotus Cars’ Executive Director of Corporate Strategy and Product Management.

    He added: “This is a step change and the start of an exciting journey for Lotus, which is not only about decarbonisation and environmental awareness, but also about making a significant, positive contribution to the customer journey. We will integrate cars, homes and mobile devices, making our model the most efficient, convenient and connected way to utilise energy.”

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