Lotus working on a light platform for electric cars

The sports car manufacturer Lotus will work with partners to develop a new lightweight architecture for electric vehicles as part of a project sponsored by the British government.

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Lotus will drive the Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture (LEVA) project in partnership with Sarginsons Industries, a specialist in aluminium die-casting, and Brunel University London. Lotus claims that LEVA will result in “groundbreaking new BEV chassis and powertrain concepts”, but does not give further details. The project is funded by the British Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator program of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

Lotus has been majority-owned by Geely since 2017. In the summer of 2019, the British small-series manufacturer showed a fully electric Hypercar for the first time. The company plans to produce 130 units of the 2,000 hp model called Evija.

Matt Windle, Executive Director of Engineering at Lotus said: “Following the launch of the Lotus Evija, our all-electric hypercar, this project is a key building block in our vision to deliver a full range of electrified Lotus performance cars ‘For The Drivers’.” In his view, public funding is critical: “Funding of this nature is critical to stimulate the automotive industry and supply chain as both continue to adjust to a rapidly changing landscape.”

Back in 2019, Lotus was preparing for expansion under Chinese owner Geely Automobile Holdings. At the time, there was speculation that could see the British carmaker open a second UK factory and possibly target new markets by building higher-volume models in China. At the time, Lotus was planning to triple its output at its base in Hethel, eastern England, to slightly more than 5,000 cars a year. In an interview at the time, the CEO said the company and could reach 10,000 if it adopts a double-shift work pattern. That being said, none of these vehicles was electric.

Back then it was said that the 1.7 million-pound ($2.1 million) all-electric Evija would be followed by a solely combustion-engine model to be revealed in 2020, after which all subsequent cars will have electric variants. At the time Feng Qingfeng, CTO of Geely said: “The manufacturing location depends on the local advantage”. He explained, “The UK is good at making hand-made cars, so sports and hypercars. In China, we may have more advantage in infrastructure for mass-production cars.”