It’s been nearly 10 years since the last all-new Lotus, and that one came out 15 years after the one before it. So, the timeline wait is nothing new, but this particular project is all about “new”. Originally known by its codename ‘Type 130’, the Lotus Evija is an all-electric hypercar that supersedes the Rimac C_Two and Pininfarina Battista.
The name Evija (pronounced eh-vi-ya) itself means the “the first of” or the “the first in existence” and it really is a first for Lotus. It is not only their first-ever all-electric model but also their first hypercar. A brand that had only ever made lightweight sportscars with less than 450bhp has now made the world’s most powerful production car.
Using one electric motor on each of the four wheels, the Lotus Evija has 1972bhp and 1700Nm of torque to offer. That’s around 493bhp per wheel. Each of them is actually a single cylindrical Electrical Drive Unit meaning it has four single-speed, helical gear ground planetary gearboxes. One for each motor. That means it has torque-vectoring for exceptional dynamic response and agility. Exactly as one would expect from a Lotus.
The power for that performance comes from a 70kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a management system from Williams Advanced Engineering. Lotus is keeping mum about the exact acceleration figures but the claims are 0-100kph in under 3 seconds, 0-300kph in under 9 seconds and a top speed of over 340kph. An equally impressive number about this first-ever British electric hypercar is that it can weigh just 1680kg which is quite an achievement for an electric car with heavy batteries.
We say British hypercar because even though it’s public knowledge that Lotus is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely, the Evija will be built/assembled at the Lotus plant in Norfolk, UK. In terms of range, it offers just 400km (WLTP combined) but the batteries are compatible with a 350kW fast charger for a full recharge in around 18 minutes.
But since nobody’s seen it on the move yet, let’s move onto the design of the Lotus Evija and just how glorious it is. Made almost entirely out of carbon fibre, chassis and bodywork both, it carries forward the Lotus philosophy of keeping things light and aerodynamic. The design concept is labelled as ‘porosity’ which aids the high-energy airflow towards the rear of the car to counteract the low pressure at the back which reduces drag. As a result, we have these beautifully sculpted Venturi tunnels that cut through the rear arches. These tunnels pull the air through the rear arch louvres maintaining the air quality in the diffuser too.
Around the back exit, the tunnel exit is edged with red LED which Lotus says creates a visual effect akin to the afterburners on a fighter jet. You know what? I see it and without the plumes of flame and smoke, it looks like a futuristic jet’s afterburners. The reversing light is the illuminated ‘T’ of the Lotus badging above the integrated flap that covers the Evija’s charging port.
Of course, there’s more clever aerodynamics around the back end with the rear diffuser integrated into the sculpted underside, all for the sake of optimising downforce. It also has active aero in the form of a rear spoiler which rises from its position where it sits flush with the bodywork along with an F1-style DRS function wherein the diffuser drops further down. It also does away with conventional door mirrors to keep the front bit slippery, with cameras that slide into the front wings when not needed.
The Evija also features a bi-plane front splitter, itself divided into three sections. The larger middle area provides cool air to the battery pack which is mid-mounted behind the seats. Meanwhile, the smaller sections flanking it cool the front e-axle. It almost looks a bit like the Brabham from the front end and that’s a pretty high compliment in my books.
Finally, we can move into the cabin through the dihedral doors. The Lotus Evija is a two-seater only, no pretend rear seats in this hypercar. In here too, it feels quite racey with its rectangular steering wheel and fixed racing seats along with the splash of carbon fibre all around. However, its all very classy and welcoming and doesn’t give off any intimidating vibes one would expect from a 2000PS hypercar. It’s also expectedly minimalistic with only one display – for the driver to control various bits of the car and its electronic wizardry. It also shows the sat nav and media controls (connected via smartphone). There are three more screens in the cabin for the various rearview cameras. The steering wheel has a big red knob in the centre with five settings – Eco, City, Tour, Sport and of course, Track.
An LED strip runs along the window line and dashboard inside the Evija which adds a nice touch to the cabin ambience. The central console panel is all touchpad but with hexagonal indents to differentiate the various functions. It’s also where the red start-stop button is, at the very bottom of the console. This honeycomb pattern is carried forward on the indicator stalks and the surface of those aluminium pedals.
But how did Lotus make such an extreme car relatively versatile to use, both on track and on the open road? A key element is the Evija’s motorsport-derived suspension setup. It features three adaptive spool-valve dampers for each axle, two of which are corner dampers and the third controls heave. Also, these are mounted in-board for optimising aerodynamic performance. These are manufactured by Multimatic, specialists in high-performance suspension technology for going fast on just about everything.
It also gets lightweight magnesium wheels – 20 inches up front and 21 inches at the rear, which get centre locks. These are shod in sticky-grippy Pirelli Trofeo R tyres. Even more important is the forged aluminium AP Racing braking system with carbon-ceramic discs on all four wheels to give this electric hypercar adequate stopping power.
Lotus has also equipped the Evija with a world-first type of laser lighting that features laser lights for both main and dipped beams. This tech allows for surprisingly high visibility from very thin vertical headlamps with wing-like elements that form the DRLs and indicators.
Only 130 units of the Lotus Evija will be built, each offering a high level of personalisation in terms of paint finishes, details and interiors too. The deposit to secure an allocation for one is GBP 250,000 while the base price is set at GBP 1.7 million plus duties and taxes. It is scheduled to begin manufacturing in 2020 with customer deliveries to start later the same year.
While Lotus has made an ambitious leap from small, lightweight sportscars straight to an all-electric hypercar, the Evija is made using some of the best components available. If it can deliver on its promises of comfort, usability and bonkers performance, we may very well have the holy trinity of electric hypercars by 2021 – the Lotus Evija, Rimac C_Two and Pininfarina Battista. It probably won’t sound the best but it will be a blisteringly fast contest nonetheless.
What do you make of the Evija? Do you think it can meet the claims? Are you also gob-smacked by its amazing looks? Or do you feel that the ridiculous performance figures from all-electric models is a step in the wrong direction for making a true driver’s car? Share your thoughts and answers in the comments below. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the Auto Loons for the latest update on our newest content.