The factory for the all-new, all-electric, £1.7 million, 200mph Lotus Evija hypercar has been completed ahead of customer deliveries
Lotus has started production of the all-electric Evija hypercar. The Pininfarina Battista rival will be built on a unique production line at the firm’s home in Hethel, Norfolk.
The first cars to roll off the production line are prototypes which will be used to complete the final stage of testing before development is fully signed off. Production of customer models will begin in the summer.
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The new building sits directly beside the Lotus test circuit, and will see the production of 130 examples of the 1,972bhp EV. Speaking on completion of the new facility, Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said, “this is now the newest car production facility in the world, and to witness it move from the drawing board to reality has been deeply satisfying. It’s testament to the commitment of all involved, and is the perfect sleek and high-tech production home for the Evija at our iconic Hethel headquarters.”
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The new facility comes at a time of great expansion at Lotus – made possible thanks to over £100 million of investment from parent company Geely. Currently, 1,400 employees are based at Hethel.
The completion of the factory helps the Evija’s development carry on apace. Previous images released by Lotus showed a prototype undergoing testing at the brand’s 2.2-mile test track. It’s the British brand’s first new car in a decade and, when it enters series production, Lotus says it’ll be the world’s most powerful road car.
The Evija (pronounced E-vi-ya) is also Lotus’s first all-electric model. Lotus is currently taking refundable deposits of £250,000 to secure a production slot, with first deliveries due to arrive this summer. The car’s full retail price is £1.7 million.
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Key aspects of the Evija’s electrical system, such as its stability control and torque vectoring systems, are tested right at the end of the car’s development. Gavan Kershaw, British GT racing driver and Lotus’s Director of Attributes, says this ensures the Evija’s chassis will develop plenty of mechanical grip – and not simply rely on the electronics to keep the suspension in check.
Kershaw said: “We’re currently evaluating the fundamentals of the chassis, to create the mechanical advantage before the other layers, such as the electronics, are added. It means we can really read the car. Later we can tune what we’ve gained as a mechanical advantage as we add layers. It’s the Lotus way – get the fundamentals right from the start and use baseline aerodynamics, suspension kinematics and geometry to feel the vehicle’s response.”
Lotus Evija: design and platform
The Evija’s styling was penned by Lotus’s design director Russell Carr. It draws inspiration from Le Mans sports cars and Formula One racers, so it’s a significant departure from the firm’s current model range. Lotus also says the Evija debuts a new design language that will “evolve and reappear” on future cars.
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It’s based on a bespoke carbon-fibre monocoque chassis and cloaked in carbon-fibre bodywork, while aerodynamics have played a defining role in its overall look. The Venturi tunnels at the rear draw air through the body and increase downforce, while the LED tail-lights mimic afterburners on a fighter jet when illuminated.
An integrated front splitter, inspired by the Type 72 Formula One car, is designed to help cool both the front axle and the battery, which is located behind the seats. An active rear spoiler has also been integrated into the bodywork to improve aerodynamics and performance.
At the Evija’s heart is a complex drivetrain. Lotus says it’s targeting 1,972bhp and 1,700Nm – four and a half times more than the firm’s current flagship, the Evora 430. That would make the Evija the world’s most powerful road car. Against the clock Lotus claims that the Evija can crack the 0-62mph sprint in less than three seconds and do 0-184mph in under nine seconds, while its top speed is in excess of 200mph.
The 70kWh battery, supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering, can cover 250 miles and be fully recharged in 18 minutes. The battery is also the first of its kind to be compatible with 800kW charging, although there are currently no such units available.
The battery drives four electric motors, one on each wheel, so the Evija is four-wheel drive. Torque-vectoring technology will also distribute power to any two, three or four wheels to maximise performance. When the car is driving on track, Lotus says that the amount of power going to each wheel can be increased to maximise agility. It can deliver full performance on track for seven minutes – the equivalent to around four laps of Silverstone.
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The Evija features magnesium wheels that measure 20 inches up front and 21 inches at the rear. Carbon-ceramic brakes and Pirelli Trofeo R tyres are fitted as standard, while the in-board suspension (like that fitted to an F1 car) features adaptive dampers on each axle.
Lotus Evija: interior and infotainment
The cabin of the Lotus Evija is accessed via a pair of remote-operated dihedral doors, similar in function to those fitted to the McLaren 720S, and is trimmed almost entirely in carbon fibre. There are a pair of carbon-fibre-backed bucket seats with Alcantara pads for support and a pair of four-point racing harnesses in place of conventional three-point seat belts.
The rectangular steering wheel houses a range of buttons and dials, so the car’s functions can be easily operated on the move. Meanwhile, a floating centre console between the seats has additional controls for the media, climate and nose-lift systems. There’s just one digital display behind the steering wheel, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available.
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