The long-struggling British sports car company Lotus is set to launch its anticipated turnaround program next month with the debut of its first new model in 11 years.
The automaker promises that the new sports car, dubbed the Lotus Type 130, will be electrifying. Quite literally, as it’s the first battery-powered model in the company’s 71-year history. We’ll find out for sure during a preview in London on July 16.
During an announcement at the Shanghai auto show in April, Lotus boss Phil Popham declared that the new model will “mark a turning point” for the brand and “showcase” its capabilities. It will certainly illustrate the commitment that has been made by the company’s new owners, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which also owns Sweden’s Volvo.
Not much is known about the Type 130 beyond the fact that it is being billed as the “first British all-electric hypercar.” Considering some of the competition now in the works, it will have to truly push to the extremes. Pininfarina, for one, is partnering with Rimac to develop its own all-electric hypercar, the Battista, which will punch out an awe-inspiring 1,900 horsepower, enough to hit 60 in less than 2 seconds, with a top speed of 217 mph.
(Lotus goes electric — but can that spark the brand’s revival? Click Here to find out.)
Aston Martin, meanwhile, recently launches sales of its own new battery-electric vehicle, the Rapide-e. And it is working on its own hypercar, the AM-RB 003, though it will use a Formula One-derived hybrid system, rather than going all-electric.
Like the battery-powered Rapide-e, the Lotus Type 130 will be produced in limited numbers. In a statement, “the company announces that a maximum of just 130 examples will be available to own – representing the number of Lotus ‘Types’ introduced during the brand’s 71-year history.”
The automaker also confirmed that the new “hypercar” will be produced at its plant in Hethel, England, which has served as its headquarters since 1966.
(Click Here for details about Lotus and its new approach to growth: practicality.)
While Lotus is revealing little about the Type 130, it is expected to follow the guiding principles of founder Colin Chapman, who prized simplicity and lightness above all else. Of course, “light” takes on a different meaning when it comes to battery-electric vehicles. Depending upon the size of the battery pack it could add as much as 1,000 pounds to the weight of the new model were Lotus to opt for something with a range of more than 200 miles and the ability to push up towards the 200 mph mark.
Lotus CEO Popham claims work on the Type 130 is in “advanced stages.” And it is moving along on the development of another, albeit less exotic, offering. That sports car should be out by 2020, and will also use an electrified drivetrain, Popham confirmed to Britain’s Auto Express, though it appears to be some form of hybrid or plug-in, rather than all-electric.
While Lotus apparently plans to maintain its HQ and a production base in England, parent Geely also is putting together a factory in China and has indicated it will give the carmaker the capacity to produce about 150,000 vehicles annually.
(To see more about Geely’s plan to plow $1.9 billion into Lotus expansion, Click Here.)