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Lotus will unveil its EV sports car in 2025, but don’t expect it to be called Elise

Oh, and we’ll see another Lotus SUV (that’s smaller than the Eletre) later this year

Published: 30 Jan 2024

Lotus has confirmed that its long-awaited all-electric sports car will be unveiled next year, with deliveries to customers expected to begin in 2027. Oh boy, this is a big one.

The sports car – which is currently known by the codename Type 135 – is set to start at around £75,000 and Lotus reckons it can shift between 10,000 and 15,000 cars per year worldwide once production is up and running at Hethel. Compare that to the 5,000 to 6,000 units per year target it has for the Emira, and you start to see just how important this new EV will be for the rapidly evolving brand.

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“That project is running at full pace right now,” Lotus’ VP of design Ben Payne tells TG. “The design is something we’ve got to balance and get absolutely right, so it's not taken lightly at all. There's lots of investigation going on. Lots of things have been tried and looked at.”

“We are honing in on the final answer of what it’s going to be. It's going to be very interesting when we finally get to show people what's going on with that car. It's another step forward, I would say for the Lotus brand.”

Sounds like it will take a step forward with its name too, rather than re-using a classic moniker like Elise, Elan or Esprit. “I don't want to talk about that officially, but my own personal view on that is that we would have a possibility to use an old name, but some of those past names are so iconic that I think we have to be really careful with what models we put them on,” says Payne.

Does that mean we’ll never see the Elise reborn as an SUV? “You can never say never, can you,” says Payne. “But I think for me personally on a brand level it wouldn’t be quite the right thing to do. Those purists of Lotus who understand that history and where it comes from, they would expect to see those nameplates translate onto something which you could see the connection with. So, taking that name and putting it on a large SUV is a bit of a strange conflict I think.”

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Lotus’ chief commercial officer, Mike Johnstone, said of the Type 135’s official name: “I'll give you an exclusive, it’ll probably start with an E.

“But honestly, we haven’t made a decision yet. They’re more kind of professional pub conversations that are happening at the minute with lots of ideas being suggested. There are a number of different names that we could use historically, but at this stage there’s no decision. If you’re going to use an old name though, it needs to really have a legitimacy.

“There are some names in our canon which are iconic, so if you’re going to use any of those you have to be absolutely 100 per cent sure that it’s going to work with this product. You’ve seen that with other brands where it’s maybe not worked all that well.”

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Brutal, and of course there is one other product that Lotus will need to find a name for. Currently referred to as the Type 134, an electric SUV that’s smaller than the Eletre will be unveiled later this year, with deliveries slated to start in 2026. That will be Lotus’ big volume seller, with an entry price of around £55,000 and target sales figures of between 80,000 and 90,000 cars per year. Remember, Lotus sold just 567 cars IN TOTAL during 2022.

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