Everything about the Lotus Evija is wild, from its outlandish styling through to its extortionate price tag. Only 130 will be built and each one will cost, er, £2,000,000 plus. That’s a lot of cash but, as you can see from the images, you get a lot of car too.
Lotus unveiled the car at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Victoria, a venue that turned out to be nearly as hot as the car itself. Around 350 or so guests got to get up close to the Evija as it revolved on a turntable, showing off every exquisite styling curve. The design is certainly radical, with all sorts of flourishes that tell you this is a car that is going to be fast. Very fast.
Central to the speed side of things is the weight of the Evija. It’s just 1,680kg, thanks in the main to a largely carbon fibre construction. And, while a beefy battery and no less than four electric motors, which power each wheel, can tend to weigh a car down, the Evija is still expected to power up to over 200mph. That’s because it produces nearly 2,000 brake horsepower, or 1,973 to be precise.
The battery pack, incidentally, has been mid-mounted and can be seen from the outside, just like some of your favourite supercars with their old-school combustion engines. And, with a monstrous 2,000kW stuffed inside that battery it’s well work looking at. Lotus says it’ll be good for 250 miles on one charge. At the same time it can be recharged in no less than 18 minutes if you’ve got access to the extra powerful 350kW charging points that are gradually being rolled out as we move to a more electric-based infrastructure.
Lotus designers and engineers have clearly laboured long and hard over the exterior and it is a thing of beauty. However, they’ve also put in considerable time working on that interior. The Evija doesn't look exactly comfortable though, with the seats in particular being rather scant on luxury. They’re actually hard shells with padded inserts, which combined with the low profile tyres will probably produce a ride that’s ‘firm’ to say the least.
So, while the inside was kinda hit and miss with those who saw it at the unveil, there seemed to be universal agreement on that awesome exterior. During the presentation Russell Carr, Lotus’ Design Director explained that there were more than a few nods towards the aerospace industry for inspiration. And, from more than one angle it's pretty easy to imagine the Evija flying. From the rear its twin Venturi tunnels suggest afterburners on a jet engine, though all of the curves and scoops around the body actually enhance downforce.
So could this be a new beginning for Lotus? The British sports car maker has built so many iconic models over the years like the Elan, Esprit and Eclat, and more recently the Elise, Exige and Evora. Unfortunately the Evora came out way back in 2008, and we’ve seen nothing new from the Norfolk-based manufacturer since. In an added twist, the new car is also the first since Chinese carmaker Geely took over as majority shareholder of Group Lotus.
Lotus has had a huge influence on car making and not just with its own dedicated models. It even managed to make a humdrum Ford saloon seem exciting back in the 70s with the much-loved Lotus Cortina. So the announcement of the Evija has certainly fired up the imagination of fans as the flurry of social media activity will attest. Sadly though, it’s unlikely many will ever own one.
But the same can be said for other hypercar designs that are out there, including the hugely appealing Aston Martin Valkyrie or Pininfarina Battista as two prime examples. Indeed, you’ll need £250,000 just to put down a deposit for the Evija. This, therefore, is a car that will probably end up in a collection. On the upside though, it does seem to show a commitment from Geely that Lotus can, and will continue producing more new cars in the future.
“Evija will re-establish Lotus as a leader in terms of engineering and design. It is a hypercar that is built ‘For The Drivers’,” said Phil Popham, CEO of Lotus Cars during his opening speech, before adding “The Evija is a seismic shift for Lotus and signifies the rebirth of one of the UK’s most renowned sports car marques. It will act as a halo for the thrilling new range of Lotus performance cars that will follow.”
Earlier, outside the venue, a convoy of bright yellow Lotus models from down the years reminded everyone of the company’s rich heritage. Let’s just hope that Lotus can continue to evolve its business and keep making those real cars for the drivers, rather than collectors. Nevertheless, as an exercise in showing they’re back and in it for the long-haul then the Evija is a mighty statement of intent.