It appears one of the last dominos is about to fall: Lotus. The British-born, Chinese-owned super car maker offered up the first “look” at the Type 132 — its first-ever sport-utility vehicle. The company follows Lamborghini and Ferrari into the SUV segment.
The company — owned by Geely Auto Group, which also controls Volvo Cars — offered up a tease of the front fascia of the new vehicle, set to arrive sometime next year. It features a honeycomb-like panel set inside was appears to be a carbon fiber support piece. Since there are no holes, it’s difficult to call it a “grille.”
However, that’s essentially what it is. Lotus offers a more complete description, saying it’s a “unique and innovative active grille shutter on the Type 132. It is an authentic Lotus air management solution with a dual purpose — for cooling and for enhanced frontal aerodynamics.”
It’s safe to assume there will be more pictures and videos about the Type 132 in the near future as the current offering is labeled “Lotus Type 132 Teaser #1 — Breathe” on the company’s media website.
Lotus product plans
In August, the company laid out its plans going forward, including revealing a bit about the Type 132, which is simply a codename for its E-segment SUV.
It will be followed in 2023 by an E-segment four-door coupe, Type 133, and in 2025 by Type 134, a new D-segment SUV. This trio will be joined in 2026 by an all-new electric sports car, Type 135. The new models are in addition to the Evija all-electric hypercar and the Emira, the last gas-powered sports car from Lotus, which will both be built at Hethel, UK.
The company said the new vehicles are part of a much larger transformation plan dubbed Vision80. The push toward electrification is the centerpiece of the effort aimed at celebrating the company’s 80th birthday in 2028. It was created in 1948 by racer Colin Chapman in the UK.
Like so many other auto companies making the shift, Lotus is creating a uniform architecture for its four “Type” vehicles to utilize.
The Premium architecture supports the development of passenger vehicles in the C+ to E segments. Using 92-120 kWh batteries, it is expected to be compatible with the 800-volt high-speed EV charging systems. Products developed on this platform will be capable of 0-100 kmh — 0 to 62 mph — acceleration in less than three seconds.
The plan includes not only the production of new electric vehicles, which comes as scores of countries around the world begin instituting mandates for zero-emissions vehicles and carbon neutrality, but also the development of advanced driver assistance systems, including some autonomous technologies.
Lotus is pushing the concept of “track-level intelligent drive” as a 10-year technological development target.
“The new technology’s aim is to assist drivers to perform as well as an F1 driver on track, while increasing driver safety and improving performance on the road through advanced software and hardware. The result is a more rewarding and reassuring experience in any environment,” the company said in a release.