This is the core of Lotus's new electric sports car | Top Gear
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This is the core of Lotus's new electric sports car

Flexible architecture can prioritise comfort, power, range or a mid-engined feel

Published: 21 Sep 2021
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This, internet folk, is the new Lotus EV sports car. Or rather it’s the structure that’ll sit at its core.

As well as the core of other electric Lotuses (Loti?). We recently learned of Types 132 through 135, a range of EVs encompassing SUVs, saloons and sports cars. The architecture beneath some of them will be shared, and thus flexible.

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The joy of batteries and motors (there are some, honest) is that they can be easily picked up and moved around without messing heavily with how your car works. You can’t just pluck the engine from the front of a car and pop it in the middle without much replumbing and rewiring. Moving a battery pack around is a simpler affair.

So this sports car architecture, dubbed Project LEVA, can play the role of a mid-engined ICE car by placing a bank of batteries behind the driver and passenger. Or it can stuff them under the floor in a so-called ‘skateboard’ setup for when higher ride height and more cabin space are priorities. The wheelbase can differ too.

Lotus has proposed single and twin power pack options, too, varying battery output between 66.4 and 99.6kWh and peak power between 469 and 872bhp.

The project has come to fruition with third party and governmental help – prove you’ve a big interest in electric propulsion and, as Nissan has found, funding will come. But interestingly third parties will also benefit from this platform, too.

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“A unique degree of flexibility and modularity in wheelbase and propulsion solutions will be the genesis for a wide variety of electric vehicle applications,” says Lotus. “These could be for the eagerly anticipated Lotus electric sports car – scheduled for launch in 2026 – as well as for third-party clients through Lotus Engineering.”

And, it’d be safe to bet, for the Alpine sports car which Lotus is partnering with the French to make.

“Project LEVA is as revolutionary now as the Elise architecture was in 1996,” says Richard Rackham, Head of Vehicle Concepts at Lotus. “In true Lotus spirit, significant weight savings have been achieved throughout, with a focus on ultimate performance, efficiency and safety being engineered into the structure from the outset.”

So, just as the last hurrah for old-school Lotuses gains a price tag, the future that supersedes it is previewed too… Thoughts?

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