HETHEL, ENGLAND - Lotus recently unveiled its new Emira, which is said to be the British sportscar maker’s last-ever combustion engined car.
Going forward the focus is going to be on fully electric models, and Lotus is planning to launch an entire family of EVs in the coming years. Underpinning this new line-up will be a new Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture (LEVA), which the company unveiled this week.
LEVA is a fully adaptable platform that can underpin vehicles of various sizes and accommodate various powertrain and battery configurations.
For instance, at the lower end of the scale you’ll find a two-seater model on a 2470mm wheelbase with a single motor that develops 350kW, fed by a 66.4kWh battery.
Lotus also mentions a larger twin-motor two-seater with 650kW and a 99kWh capacity as well as a 2+2 seater that accommodates both single and twin motor set-ups.
Lotus is planning to launch four battery-powered vehicles in the next five years, including an SUV and a four-door coupe model.
The LEVA architecture can accommodate two different types of layout, which it calls ‘Slab’ and ‘Chest’.
The Chest layout is a mid-mounted power pack in which the modules are stacked vertically behind the two seats. This set-up is deemed ideal for sports cars where a low ride height and low centre of gravity are desired.
In the Slab layout, the modules are integrated horizontally under the cabin. This is most suitable for vehicles where a higher ride height and a taller overall profile is required. It is often referred to as a ‘skateboard power pack’ layout.
Of course, in order to honour its founder Colin Chapman, any Lotus architecture has to “add lightness” and the LEVA doesn’t disappoint in this regard, boasting a rear structure that’s 37% lighter than that on the petrol-powered Emira V6 sportscar.
“Project LEVA and the electric sports car architecture are perfect illustrations of the innovation which continues to be at the heart of everything Lotus does,” said Lotus Cars engineering director Richard Moore. “Today’s EVs are heavy in comparison to their ICE equivalents, so the ARMD funding has helped Lotus to innovate earlier in the product cycle and develop a new vehicle architecture that targets lightweight and performance density from conception.
“Rather than developing a single vehicle, it means Lotus now has the ‘blueprint’ for the next generation of electric sports cars, for future Lotus products and for the Lotus Engineering consultancy to commercialise,” Moore added.