Lotus is poised to introduce four new electric models in the next five years – with the first battery-powered vehicle launching next year.
The EV offensive has been announced alongside the creation of a manufacturing plant for Lotus Technology in Wuhan, China – set to be completed in 2024. The technology arm of the company will be used to ‘accelerate innovation in the fields of batteries and energy management’, according to the firm. This facility is where where these new electric models will be built, too.
The first of the firm’s new electric models – an SUV codenamed Type 132 – will arrive next year, followed in 2023 by a four-door coupe and later on in 2025 by a D-segment SUV similar in size to the Kia Sorento or Skoda Kodiaq.
Finally, a new fully electric sports car – currently known as the Type 135 – will join the range in 2026.
Feng Qingfeng, CEO, Group Lotus, said: “This is an important day in the transformation of the Lotus business and brand. Lotus Technology will accelerate the innovation which has always been at the heart of the business. Together the China and UK teams will empower our journey towards an expanded, intelligent and electric future, achieving the ambitions and goals that have been in the making for 73 years of the Lotus brand.”
These models will sit alongside the firm’s new Evija hypercar and its last petrol-powered sports car, the Emira.
The new production site will sit alongside existing operations at the firm’s home in Hethel, Norfolk. Capable of producing up to 150,000 vehicles each year, it’s the first in the world to feature an integrated ‘intelligent’ test track. Here, vehicles can be transported to workshops using autonomous driving technology and can allow new models to be tested at speeds of up to 140mph through 16 corners.
Matt Windle, managing director, Lotus Cars, said: “Transforming Lotus from a UK sports car company to a truly global performance car company has always been at the core of Vision80. The launch of Lotus Technology is a major milestone on the road to making that a reality, while adhering to the unwavering Lotus principles of pure performance, efficiency, motorsport success and, above all, being ‘For the Drivers’.”