Lotus has some big ambitions, including taking on hypercar royalty like the Bugatti Chiron.
Remember Lotus? You may not, considering they currently sell just one car in the U.S. – the Evora 400. However, that hasn’t stopped the company announcing its next set of ambitious plans. Lotus, currently held by Chinese multinational Geely, is working on a new secret project, according to an Autocar report. That project: Build a $2.5-million hypercar to take on the hypercar elite. The same Lotus that builds the Elise, Exige and 3-Eleven in Norfolk, England wants to take on the likes of the McLaren P1, LaFerrari, Porsche 918 Spyder and the Bugatti Chiron.
To accomplish that goal, development work is underway on the project, codenamed “Omega”. Autocar did confirm the new model will use a bespoke electric drivetrain and that this Lotus hypercar will launch “early in the next decade”. It makes sense to pivot toward electric powertrains. Small manufacturers like Lotus will likely never expand if they don’t move toward electrification in lockstep with the rest of the industry. Quite the contrary, in fact – the brand, which has teetered on the brink of insolvency a few times in past years – may fade into obscurity if it doesn’t identify with electric powertrains.
It’s not a huge stretch either, since Geely also controls Volvo and Polestar. To that end, the company has the means to leverage Volvo’s push into electrified vehicles on Lotus’s transformation, should this actually come to pass. However, Lotus does face a monumental challenge in balancing the need for an electric powertrain with its core identity as a lightweight sports car maker.
This isn’t Lotus’ first attempt to transform the brand in recent years, but it is one of the most ambitious. To back that $2.5 million price tag, the brand’s first electric hypercar will need to pack some mind-bending numbers. If the concept does emerge in 2019, as reports suggest, it will need to pack at least as much horsepower as its big-name rivals. 1,000 horsepower is a likely target, as is all-wheel drive to get all that power down to the road. Not only that, but the car will need a decent range.
What else is coming?
Of course, the company won’t comment on any speculation over future products. According to the report, Lotus did make a statement. “Lotus’s development team is exploring numerous engineering projects, across multiple vehicle sectors, using several propulsion systems. As part of the development process, these projects undergo continual and stringent valuation and only the best will reach production.” That’s a vague answer, but it does show Lotus is considering other new models. We’ll have to wait and see what ultimately makes it past development to end up on the roads.