Still think electric vehicles are slow and stodgy? You might change your mind – fast – after checking out some numbers from Lotus.
The British brand, long known for its exotic, high-performance sports cars, is betting big on electrification, the new Lotus Evija scheduled to become its first long-range model to reach showrooms.
Punching out nearly 2,000 horsepower through all four wheels, the plan is to launch from zero all the way up to 186 mph in a neck-snapping 9 seconds.
Yep, within 9 seconds you’ll be moving at a pace of more than three miles a minute. If that is a little rich for your blood, chief Lotus test driver Gavin Kershaw told the British publication Top Gear that the electric hypercar will make 124 mph in under 6 seconds. And, yes, it will be quick to 60, as well, though the automaker doesn’t appear to be worried about setting a record there.
“We’re not challenging the laws of physics, going below two seconds to 62 mph (or 100 kmh), and then having a low top speed,” explained Kershaw. “We positioned the bandwidth of the motor to where we want the performance.”
There’s been a big shift for automakers of late. Where they once positioned battery powertrain technology almost exclusively as a way to go green, the current mindset is to focus as much on performance as on energy efficiency. Just look at Toyota, which has positioned the plug-in RAV4 Prime as the most powerful and quickest version of the compact SUV.
That strategy is all the more apparent among high-line manufacturers who intend to take advantage of the fact that electric motors produce maximum torque the moment they start spinning. And, given enough juice from today’s increasingly “power dense” lithium-ion batteries they readily can turn out the sort of power and torque seen from only a handful of vehicles using a conventional internal combustion drivetrain.
The Lotus Evija. If it meets those numbers when it goes into production would handily outperform the quickest vehicle now on the road, reaching 186 mph more than three seconds faster than the Bugatti Chiron Pur Sport, which needs a comparatively slow 12.4 seconds to get there.
As with most current and planned electric hypercars, the Lotus Evija will rely on a single-speed gearbox, something all the more impressive when one considers the bandwidth it will cover. But it does require some minor compromises, as Kershaw noted. Tesla, on the other hand, appears to be focused on achieving the world’s fastest launch time for a street-legal production vehicle, CEO Elon Musk promising a sub-2 second 0-60 launch for the second-generation Roadster. While the drivetrain itself should be more than capable enough, the real challenge will be getting the tires to hook up with the pavement.
While automakers have learned how to produce four-figure power from gas engines, electrics appear to be pushing into territory far beyond what anything practical and street legal would be capable of. The 2021 Lotus Evija is expected to punch out a ful 1,972 hp and 1,253 pound-feet of torque. And that will be enough to push through the 200 mph barrier, though the automaker has yet to release a top speed.
With relatively few places to push the limits of performance, several other numbers are worth considering. For starters, the British marque claims Evija’s 70 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery will manage 250 miles per charge – though that’s a European test cycle number and would likely come down a bit using the EPA standard. Equally impressive, Lotus claims it will be able to fully recharge in as little as 18 minutes, a figure that appears to depend upon access to the latest, 350 kW quick chargers that are only just starting to pop up around the world. No word on charging times with lower power chargers.
If you’re interested, you can get in line to buy one of the first cars scheduled to reach showrooms late this year. Don’t wait long, as only 130 are scheduled for production. But here’s the biggest figure of all, the Lotus Evija will set you back around $2.2 million.