Best known as a producer of supercars, Lotus is leading an engineering government-funded partnership to develop an all-new next-generation Battery Electric Vehicle architecture.
Britain’s Advanced Propulsion Center awarded Lotus the contracts as part of the APC’s Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator competition. The competition was funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Led by Lotus, the partnership will target innovation in lightweight structures for next-generation BEVs that can incorporating cutting-edge UK-based engineering and digital manufacturing expertise. The goal of LEVA, which stands for Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture, is to pioneer BEV chassis and powertrain concepts, British officials said.
Lotus will collaborate with Sarginsons Industries and Brunel University London to harness the full “light-weighting” potential of the vehicle architecture.
Matt Windle, executive director of Engineering, Lotus, said, “This is great news for our industry and its transition to electrification. As a collaboration between Lotus, Sarginsons Industries and Brunel University London there is a wealth of talent involved, and we are excited to have already begun the project work.
“Following the launch of the Lotus Evija, our all-electric hypercar, this project is a key building block in our vision to deliver a full range of electrified Lotus performance cars ‘For The Drivers.’ Funding of this nature is critical to stimulate the automotive industry and supply chain as both continue to adjust to a rapidly changing landscape.”
More details on Project LEVA will be released by Lotus and its partners over time, he said.
Last month, Lotus offered the first look at the Evija all-electric hypercar in a film featuring an engineering development vehicle testing on the 2.2-mile track at Hethel. The film made its debut during Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance, the UK’s most exclusive motor show.
In July, Lotus dedicated an advanced technology center on the campus of the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne Campus, which will also be home to a new headquarters for the company’s engineering consultancy. Initially, 130 engineers will move in, complementing the 500-strong engineering team at the home of Lotus Cars in Hethel, Norfolk.
“Our engineering and R&D strategy around advanced propulsion systems is lock-in-step with the (British) government’s vision and broader global ambitions for a low-carbon automotive future,” said Phil Popham, Lotus Cars CEO.
Additionally, the vaunted British carmaker is working with Centrica’s British Gas subsidiary will help establish a new global charging and energy infrastructure for new products. The deal is part of Lotus’ move to net-zero carbon following huge investment into the business since 2018. Those efforts began with a new electric vehicle platform designed to serve as the new model for future EV ownership including at-home charging and energy storage.
“We look forward to working in collaboration with Government and with our new campus neighbors on this future. Having research partners at the University and WMG will bring significant benefits,” he said.