BRITISH sports car maker Lotus has just taken the wraps off one of the most eagerly anticipated new cars of the year: the ultra-exclusive, pure-electric Evija hypercar.
Lotus’s first all-new model since it launched the Evora 2+2 mid-engined sports car in 2008, the Evija (which is pronounced “e-vi-ya”) ushers in a bold new era for the low volume car maker. As well as being the first model developed by Lotus since it was bought by the Chinese car maker Geely in 2017, the Evija is also the firm’s first pure-electric production car.
The new Evija brings to the table performance far in excess of anything that’s emerged from the firm’s factory in Hethel before. Lotus says it’s targeting a 0-62mph time of under three seconds, and a staggering sub-nine-seconds time for 0-186mph.
An official top speed hasn’t been stated, though Lotus claims the 1,680kg Evija will be able to hit speeds in excess of 200mph.
This incredible pace comes courtesy of what Lotus claims is the most potent powertrain ever seen in a road legal production car. Combined, the car’s four electric motors (one for each of the vehicle’s wheels) produce a claimed 1,973bhp and 1,254 lb ft of torque — or around four times the outputs of the previous most powerful Lotus ever; the 430bhp, 325 lb ft Lotus Evora GT 430.
The Evija’s exterior design is honed for these extreme speeds, of course. Taking inspiration from Le Mans Prototype racing cars, the hypercar’s carbon fibre bodywork channels for maximum stability and downforce, with two giant Venturi tunnels at the rear, each opening with a red LED strip around its edge. Lotus says this creates a visual effect reminiscent of a the afterburners on a jet engine.
Just as much a technical highlight is the battery that’s been developed in collaboration with the Williams Formula 1 team’s Advanced Engineering division. Mid-mounted just behind the driver and passenger compartment, the 2,000kW pack is good for 250 miles per charge, under the WLTP test cycle, and is capable of receiving an ultra-fast charge using the most powerful 350kW charging points that are beginning to be rolled out in the UK. Lotus says it takes just 18 minutes to fully replenish the battery at this speed, or 12 minutes to reach 80% charge from flat.
But the Evija’s batteries have in fact been engineered to accept charging speeds of up to 800kW, says Lotus, which is way in excess of the speeds currently available — and far more than are expected to be available at the roadside. But assuming you could find one at a racing circuit, Lotus says Evija owners would be able to fully recharge their extreme machine’s batteries in just nine minutes. Just enough time for a quick cup of tea before hitting the track once more.
Prospective buyers will need to have very deep pockets indeed if they want to have a Lotus Evija in their garage, of course. Lotus says prices start at £1.7m before taxes. A £250,000 deposit will secure clients one of the 130 available build slots (a reference to the car’s “Type 130” project codename), and Lotus says it will start producing the Evija in 2020.