The blast of air was almost imperceptible as the grey streak sped past. A remnant of its silhouette was all that remained as bystanders attempted to reconstruct a complete image of the car, but their efforts were in vain. The grey streak and a faint spark of red as the streak slowed to round the corner was all that was left.
Lotus revealed the Evija which will become the first British hypercar and the first fully electric vehicle built by Lotus.
The world is familiar with British supercars, but a paradigm shift in the automotive industry that we talk about regularly here on CleanTechnica has now taken hold, and legacy automakers are starting to come around. Evija literally translates to ‘the first in existence’ and sets a high bar for the electrified lineup of Lotus vehicles which are sure to follow. Lotus hinted at as much, noting that when fully fleshed out, the Evija will set the tone for the rest of the existing Lotus line, including the Elise, Exige, and Evora, as well as any future cars coming from the famed marque.
“The Lotus Evija is a car like no other. It will re-establish our brand in the hearts and minds of sports car fans and on the global automotive stage,” Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said at the official unveiling in London. “It will also pave the way for further visionary models.”
The Evija was built around the design concept of porosity, where instead of trying to slice through the air, the skin of the car was shaped to encourage air to flow around and through it. Encouraging air to flow through the large channels and ports in the car serves to counteract the low pressure that builds up behind more traditional automotive designs. This reduces aerodynamic drag, increasing efficiency and stability.
The the front splitter was designed like an open mouth, to suck in fresh air, which is routed directly to the battery pack, which lives just behind the two seats. Let’s hope that the battery pack also has some active cooling built in, lest it suffer from the diminished performance and severe degradation like some early Nissan LEAF battery packs did.
The exterior was further streamlined by removing the mirrors, instead utilizing two cameras mounted in the front wings. Hidden when parked, they deploy in tandem like a built-in safety team to keep a watchful eye on the otherwise blind spots off the corners of the car. Another centrally mounted camera lives up on the roof to provide an elevated view out front on one of the three interior LCD screens.
Inside the cockpit, the Evija exudes the high quality, business-oriented feel of a jet fighter. From the ultra lightweight carbon fiber elements to the oval steering wheel, it is clear that the Evija put lightweight design and performance at the center, with just enough polish on the inside for the pilot to do his job. The center LCD is nice, as are the side view displays in the doors, but they are purely functional.
This new beast will have a top speed of 200 mph (320km/h) and a 0-60 time of under 3 seconds. Its performance specs alone catapult the Evija well into the rarified air of the hypercars. It will be set apart by more than just its performance, as Lotus will only produce 130 of the car in a bid for exclusivity, but also in the realization that not many enthusiasts will be able or willing to drop a cool £1.7 million (plus duties, taxes, destination charges, etc). The details released so far represent the targets being set by the design team as they inch ever-closer to finalizing the final vehicle build.
“The Lotus Evija has astonishing acceleration at higher speeds,” Matt Windle, Executive Director, Sports Car Engineering at Lotus Cars said. “It takes less than nine seconds to reach 300 km/h which is better than any other direct competitor.”
All that power comes from the Evija’s four motors, fed by a 70 kWh lithium-ion battery pack capable of pushing out 2,000 kW of power in a single burst. The entire battery, motor, and charging system was developed by a joint venture between Lotus and Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) that was founded to develop the next generation of propulsion technologies.
“With the Lotus Evija we have an extremely efficient electric powertrain package, capable of delivering power to the road in a manner never seen before,” Lotus’ Matt Windle said. “Our battery, e-motors and transmission each operate at up to 98% efficiency. This sets new standards for engineering excellence.”
Range & Charging
The Evija stores its power in a 70 kWh lithium-ion battery pack capable of pushing out 2,000 kW of power in a single burst. That translates to 250 miles of range per charge on the WLTP cycle. The mid-mounted battery pack carries forward the classic Lotus mid-motor positioning, while also serving to anchor the vehicle to the ground with a low center of gravity.
The massive power capability of the battery also translates to faster recharge times, with the capability to accept an 800 kW charge. Seeing as how there aren’t any 800 kW stations today, Lotus said that on a 350kW station, the Evija can recharge up to 80% in just 12 minutes or 100% in 18 minutes. DC fast charging in the Evija comes from its CCS2 charging port, which is tucked conveniently behind a vented flap at the rear of the car.
Older supercars were known for featuring the mid-mounted engine under a sheet of glass. The Evija pulls that concept forward, with its battery on display. “When you look through the rear glass, you can see the battery pack cover and the in-board suspension,” Russell Carr, Design Director at Lotus Cars said. “This link between the human and the precision engineering is essential for a Lotus. We want people to have the sense that they are engaging with the power and performance of the car. We refer to it as technology with soul.”
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Featured image courtesy: Lotus
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