Lotus Evija: electric hypercar close to production

The Lotus Evija electric hypercar is on course to start full production as the final prototypes are delivered

Lotus Evija factory

The Lotus Evija electric hypercar is close to beginning full production, as the car's factory delivers the last few prototype examples to be used for development and testing work.

Series production and first deliveries of the ultra-exclusive two-seater model are set to begin in summer 2020. The first year of Evija production has already sold out, and Lotus says it will build only up to 130 examples of the car in total, in order to maintain exclusivity.

Starting in summer 2019, a new factory hall has been built at Lotus' Hethel, Norfolk headquarters, adjacent to the brand's 2.2-mile test-track facility, which has a long history of being used to develop Lotus road cars and shake down Formula 1 machinery during the company's days running a works team.

Lotus CEO Phil Popham said of the factory: “This is now the newest car-production facility in the world, and to witness it move from the drawing board to reality has been deeply satisfying. It’s testament to the commitment of all involved. With our new factory ready, we are ahead of the pack in the emerging [electric] hypercar segment and 100% ready for some healthy competition.”

Lotus Evija power, performance and 0-60 mph time

Pronounced E-vi-ya, the Evija is an ultra-exclusive, fully electric hypercar with a price tag of £2 million. With a targeted power output of 1,972bhp, it has a 0-60mph time of under three seconds and a top speed of over 200mph. Just 130 examples will be built when production starts in mid-2020, and Lotus is currently taking refundable deposits of £250,000 to reserve one.

Lotus CEO Phil Popham describes the Evija as "a car like no other" and says it'll pave the way for future "visionary" modes in the brand's line-up. The targeted 1,972bhp output is slightly more than the 1,873bhp being aimed at by the Pininfarina Battista – another ultra-exclusive electric hypercar.

Lotus released a video (below) showing the dynamic testing debut of its upcoming Evija electric hypercar. It shows the second Evija engineering prototype being driven around a private circuit; Lotus says the car's development programme will include extensive track time at its own track on the premises of its Hethel headquarters, as well as other "demanding and high-speed" circuits around Europe.

Design

Lotus' design director Russell Carr penned the Evija's shape, which was inspired by Formula 1 and Le Mans racing cars. This new design language is set to evolve and reappear on future models. There are no door handles, in order to keep the bodywork as smooth and aerodynamic as possible; the doors are opened remotely using the key fob.

At the heart of the Evija is a custom-built carbon-fibre chassis and the bodywork is entirely carbon-fibre, too. Aerodynamics have significantly influenced the car's design; among the most notable features is a tunnel allowing airflow through the body, boosting aerodynamic grip.

At the front, a splitter based on that of the classic Lotus 73 F1 car channels cooling air to the front axle and battery pack. There's also an active rear spoiler with Formula 1-inspired drag reduction system (DRS). Magnesium alloy wheels (20-inch in diameter at the front and 21 inches at the rear) are wrapped in Pirelli Trofeo R tyres, and the car also features carbon-ceramic brakes.

Electric motor and battery

The Evija's enormous targeted power output of 1,972bhp comes from four electric motors, with one mounted on each wheel. This automatically makes the Evija four-wheel drive, however a torque-vectoring system can vary the amount of power being fed to each wheel in order to optimise grip and traction.

The motors are fed by a 70kWh battery supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering, which can be recharged to full capacity in 18 minutes from a 350kW rapid charger. Lotus says the Evija can potentially be charged at speeds of up to 800kW, however no publicly accessible charging point can yet reach that level.

Driving range is a claimed 250 miles, however Lotus says maximum power can be delivered for seven minutes – equivalent to around four laps of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit.

Driving modes

Speaking to DrivingElectric at the Evija launch event in London, Lotus Director of Attributes Gavan Kershaw revealed that the car would have four driving modes: "There'll be City, Sport, Tour and Race, and the driver can request what level of torque they want," he said.

"There'll be different power outputs in different modes, because people will want to extend their range, or maybe do a quick burst up to 300kph," he continued. "The car was designed to be useable every day, but with its pedigree it's also going to have track performance, it has to cover both bases. There's plenty of room in the cockpit; two six-foot guys can fit in it with crash helmets and get comfortable, but equally it has to work well driving around cities."

Kershaw also said that Lotus would explore both hybrid and pure-electric drivetrains in its forthcoming models over the next decade. "It's a 10-year plan that started with the 70th anniversary. It's really exciting, there are going to be phases within it. We'll be taking the right path for the right car, using the right solutions to solve the right problems. Electric was the right solution for the Evija, but if it's not right for other models going forward, then so be it."

Interior

Inside the Evija, the driver and passenger sit on carbon-fibre bucket seats with Alcantara pads, and most of the interior is trimmed in carbon-fibre as well, all in the pursuit of weight saving. Four-point harnesses instead of conventional seatbelts are an option.

The rectangular steering wheel is another motorsport-inspired detail; it's festooned with buttons and dials to adjust settings and functions while driving. In addition, there's a 'floating' centre console where you can operate the infotainment and climate control, as well as the nose-lifting system, which helps with negotiating ramps and speed bumps. A single digital display sits behind the steering wheel.