It’s Lotus’ first all new car since the Evora. It’s Britain’s first all-electric hypercar. It’s the world’s most powerful production car. It’s the Lotus Evija. Motoring Journalist, David Tillyer was at the launch and was able to take these exclusive images.
When I was young, a new supercar was a very rare thing. A new hypercar was just behind Unicorns and Rocking Horse droppings in the list of things you might see. Fast forward to today and there is a positive cornucopia of very fast, exotic cars to choose from. It feels like a new one appears almost every week. Manufacturers need to do something really special to stand apart from the crowd. Maybe that’s why Lotus have grabbed the attention of many petrolheads with the reveal of the Evija.
Electric supercars are nothing new, there are many people at it. Many with ludicrous amounts of power. The Evija is nothing new there. What is new is the exact amount of power the Evija will have. Lotus claim that at launch it’ll have 2000hp. That’s 500hp per driven wheel. More power will be sent to a single wheel than any other production Lotus has ever had. Making it not only the most powerful Lotus ever but the most powerful car to coming out of the United Kingdom.
That power comes from four electric motors. One at each wheel. Lotus claim a target electric range of 250 miles that, when technology allows, will be able to be fully charged in around nine minutes. This is because the Evija has been engineered to accept a massive 800kW charge. The state of the art drivetrain has been jointly developed with Williams Advanced Engineering famed for success in motorsport, from Formula One to electrifying the first four seasons of Formula E. The 800kW charging technology is not commercially available yet but when it is, it will ensure the Evija remains ahead of the curve. The battery pack is mid-mounted immediately behind the two seats and supplies energy directly to the four powerful e-motors. This highly efficient system is the lightest, most energy dense, electric power package ever fitted to a road car.
Lotus are cautiously optimistic about their new hypercar’s performance, saying that it’ll easily top 200mph and hit sixty in under 3 seconds. Given the claimed output of 2000hp, I expect the real figures to be far more exciting. Especially given how light the Evija will be. Lotus, at their core, makes lightweight sports cars. Unlike other brands where the engine is the key component, Lotus favour a lack of weight to enhance the entire driving experience. The Evija seems no different. The whole car (including batteries) weighs in at an industry defining, 1680kg (approx 3700lb). In 2019, that’s not heavy for a supercar, let alone a battery powered hypercar. Partly due to the fact that the Evija is the first Lotus road car to feature a one-piece carbon fibre monocoque chassis. Which is moulded as a single piece for greater strength, rigidity and safety.
The lack of a combustion engine has allowed the design team to create some truly unique aspects to the Evija’s styling. This is most evident at the rear of the car. When viewed from behind you can see two ‘channels’ that lead from just behind the doors and exit directly through the rear of the car. When viewed from the rear of the car, each channel is edged with red LED brake lights to create a unique view for following drivers. The result is a stunning visual effect that reminds me of afterburners on a fighter jet. Lotus have also hidden a LED within each channel that illuminates its interior. It is quite unlike anything we’ve seen before. Lotus say cues for the Evija’s surface language was taken from nature. Russell Carr, Design Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “During the initial design stage we spent many hours studying images of geological forms – rocks that had been carved by nature over the centuries. We believe we’ve captured these beautiful, intriguing and elemental lines within the Evija.” This is evident as soon as you see the car. Having seen this car up close and personal, I can confirm that it is a masterclass in refined extravagance. There are no silly wings, no vents that seem to do nothing. It is a functionally beautiful car.
Thanks to that full carbon fibre chassis, the full length of the underside is sculpted to optimise downforce. It includes an integrated air diffuser which extends from under the B-pillars to the rear of the car. Active aerodynamics are deployed in the form of a rear spoiler, which elevates from its resting position flush to the upper bodywork, and an F1-style Drag Reduction System (DRS). Both are deployed automatically in Track mode, though can be deployed manually in other modes.
Electric cars have often focused on reducing drag, the Evija is no different. Cameras integrated into the front wings are electronically deployed on unlock, while another camera built into the roof provides a central view. Images from these cameras are displayed on three interior screens.
The interior of the Lotus Evija is almost as dramatic as the exterior. Lotus say it is inspired by the technical precision of race car engineering. “The shape is inspired by the company’s prototype racing cars of the late Fifties and early Sixties,” explained Russell Carr, Design Director, Lotus Cars. “It has a beauty and an elegance to it, and represents a typically Lotus approach because it performs multiple functions. It houses the instrument panel and air ducts, and is also an integral structural support. It reinforces Colin Chapman’s cast-iron rule that no Lotus component goes along for a free ride.”
Just gaining access to the cabin is an event. The Evija employs two dihedral doors which are handle-free to ‘preserve the sculpted exterior’. Instead they’re operated via the key fob. No Lotus before has used such doors, and according to Lotus they make for a moment of dramatic theatre whilst also provide maximum space for getting in and out.
When we first heard that Lotus was to launch their first hypercar, it was known only by its type number – Type 130. Every Lotus road and race car has received a type number and to signify the importance of this being the 130th car to be developed by them, just 130 Evijas will be built.
As for the name Evija (pronounced ‘E-vi-ya’), Lotus say the name is derived from variations of Eve, and means ‘the first in existence’ or ‘the living one’. This echoes their history of innovation in both race and road cars. The Evija will be handbuilt in the UK at the famous Hethel home of Lotus cars since the 1960s. Priced from £1.7m plus duties and taxes. A £250,000 deposit secures one of the exclusive 130 production slots.