Lotus and Williams join forces for new electric powertrains

Is a pure-electric Lotus on the way?

ONCE FIERCE rivals in Formula One racing, the British brand Lotus and Williams have now joined forces as part of a new “strategic technical partnership”.

According to the two companies, this collaboration will see Lotus and Williams’ Advanced Engineering division share their resources as they research and develop new, advanced technologies together. Specifically, this partnership will focus on the creation of “advanced propulsion systems” and “next-generation powertrains”.

No other details on these powertrain projects were given, though it’s highly likely they’ll pave the way for a production-ready hybrid or pure-electric Lotus road car. Lotus has dabbled with hybrid powertrain projects such as the Evora-based 414E prototype (pictured), and Williams has already developed the batteries used in the forthcoming pure-electric Aston Martin RapidE luxury saloon and the Formula E racing cars.

Though the partnership is between Lotus and Williams, there’s a strong chance other companies will benefit from this research too. Lotus’ parent company Geely also owns brands such as Volvo, Polestar and LEVC, the manufacturer of London’s plug-in black cab, which have already making big strides in using electrified car tech in their vehicles.

Lotus’ chief executive officer Phil Popham said: “Our new technology partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering is part of a strategy to expand our knowledge and capability in the rapidly changing automotive landscape. Applying advanced propulsion powertrains can provide numerous exciting solutions across multiple vehicle sectors.

“Our combined and complementary experiences make this a very compelling match of engineering talent, technical ability and pioneering British spirit.”

Williams Advanced Engineering’s managing director Craig Wilson added: “Williams Advanced Engineering takes great pride in delivering innovation for our customers at a rapid pace of development, born from our Formula One heritage. We will be further developing next generation powertrains in this partnership with Lotus.”

Lotus and Williams aren’t the only companies to have forged electric powertrain partnerships recently. It was confirmed in June 2018 that Porsche and Rimac will be developing pure-electric technologies together, and Audi and Hyundai have begun collaborative work on hydrogen fuel cell development.

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