Lotus Cars has announced that the Emira sports car will be its next and final internal combustion model as it prepares itself to become an exclusively electric brand. The historically British manufacturer says its Chinese owners, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, are preparing a cash injection of $2.8 billion to swap to EVs and expand its footprint.
While the present market makes those items feel as though they could conflict with each other, Lotus thinks that the climate will be different a few years from now and plans on going EV only by 2028. In the meantime, the Emira is scheduled to launch in July.
Base-model Emiras will come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (likely sourced from Volvo/Geely) while higher end trims get the same supercharged Toyota V6 that’s in the Evora and costs substantially more. While the company hasn’t said how the vehicles will be priced, it did say to expect it to fall within the existing lineup.
This excludes the Evija EV that will be going into production later this year, which probably has many breathing a sigh of relief. The plug-in model will have a limited production run of 130 units and is supposed to retail at an estimated $2.3 million. Saying it’s something different for the brand is an understatement, though so is the Emira (bottom of the page).
Rather than shooting for the maximum amount of performance physics will allow, the coupe is focused on updating equipment and making Lotus products more livable. Ditching rollup windows, adding infotainment, and trying to mitigate NVH is likely to make the Emira pudgier than its soon-to-be-discontinued siblings. But we’ll have to wait to see if that makes the model less exciting to drive.
Regardless, this is to be the internal combustion engine’s last hurrah with the company. Lotus said that all subsequent products will be battery-electric only, without the need to soften the transition by building a decade of hybrids. Leadership has said that the firm might have clung to the idea of building vehicles designed almost entirely around driving excitement for too long, hurting its sales volume in the process. But the new solution seems almost as extreme and kind of makes the Lotus tradition of building featherweight cars impossible. Battery packs are extremely heavy, though engineers can use them to keep the center of mass exceptionally low.
Lotus currently manufactures a little over 1,000 extremely lightweight sports cars annually. But Geely thinks it can expand that figure tenfold by tapping online sales, expanding its dealer network around the globe, and making Lotus products more mainstream.
[Images: Lotus Cars]