Lotus becomes first major sports car maker to go fully electric

Cars ready at the Lotus factory at Hethel.

Lotus has backed the Eastern Powerhouse set-up. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Lotus, the Norfolk supercar maker, has announced that all its production vehicles will be fully electric from next year.

The firm will be the first established sports car manufacturer in the world to make the switch.

Bosses hope the early move will leave the company well placed for the growing electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

Last year, 327,000 plug-in cars were registered in the UK, a 77pc rise on 2020. And from 2030, all sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the country will be banned.

Matt Windle, the firm's managing director, said: “Lotus as a business has always been agile, efficient and impactful within the automotive industry. 

"Now, more than ever, as we transform rapidly to become a global pioneer of electric performance vehicles, we recognise our responsibility to do so in ways that lead our industry in minimising its impact on the environment, benefitting society and the planet as a whole.”

The Lotus Evija will be built in Hethel, Norfolk, where the famous car maufacturer has had its HQ si

The Lotus Evija will be built in Hethel, Norfolk, where the famous car maufacturer has had its HQ since 1966Photo: Lotus - Credit: Archant

Lotus launched Britain's first electric hypercar, the Evija, in 2019. Deliveries are set to begin later this year.

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The Evija was followed by the Emira sports car, launched in 2021.

It is not an electric vehicle but was designed using the same aerodynamic and efficiency principles, and is the last internal combustion engine-powered production car the company will make.

The Emira was also designed and engineered to be more than 85pc recyclable.

Inside Lotus Hethel factory

Lotus is offering tours around its redeveloped Hethel factory - Credit: Lotus

The latest of Lotus’ new generation of cars is the Eletre, launched earlier this year.

It marks the company’s transition to a full line-up of electric vehicles and seals the brand’s place in history as the world’s first established sports car maker to go fully electric.

These new models will be joined by three more electric Lotuses in the next four years – a four-door sports sedan, the Type 133, which launches in 2023; an SUV Type 134, in 2025, and a lightweight next-generation sports car Type 135 in 2026.

The firm is also pledging to become a net-zero company, cutting carbon emissions and eliminating waste from its plant at Hethel, near Norwich.

It is a  signatory of the COP26 zero emissions vehicle declaration, uses renewable energy tariff to power all its UK sites and is developing a solar array to provide up to 30pc of its power needs.


A HISTORY OF LOTUS IN FIVE CLASSICS

The Mark 1

To mark its 70th anniversary, Lotus has launched a public search to find the elusive Mark I, hand-bu

To mark its 70th anniversary, Lotus has launched a public search to find the elusive Mark I, hand-built by the company's founder Colin Chapman. Pictured is his wife Hazel in the Lotus Mark I. Picture: Colin Chapman Foundation - Credit: Colin Chapman Foundation

Colin Chapman, who founded Lotus, built the Mark 1 in his girlfriend Hazel's garage in London in 1947, so he could take part in motorsport. Hazel, pictured in the car, would later become his wife.

Eye-catching early success

Activity around the Classic Team Lotus F1 racing cars at the 70th anniversary of Lotus event. Pictur

Activity around the Classic Team Lotus F1 racing cars at the 70th anniversary of Lotus event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

In the 1960s, the green and yellow Lotus 25 took 25 World Championship Grand Prix wins with Jim Clark at the wheel, and made the firm a global brand. It was noted for its revolutionary design, with Formula One's first fully stressed 'monocoque' - or single shell - chassis.

The (black and) golden years 

Classic Team Lotus F1 racing cars at the 70th anniversary of Lotus event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Classic Team Lotus F1 racing cars at the 70th anniversary of Lotus event. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

In the 1970s, the black and gold JPS (John Player Special) Lotus cars became a major force in Formula One, and the company became one of the globe's most glamorous brands. In 1977, a Lotus Esprit stole the show in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me, when 007 drove it into the sea and it was transformed into a submarine.

Boardman's bike

Lotus bike Norfolk

Will the new Lotus Olympic track bike bring gold in Tokyo? - Credit: Rob Borrett

And it wasn't just cars. In the 1990s, Lotus began making revolutionary bicycles from carbon fibre, which had an aerodynamic cross-section. The firm was put on the bicycling map in 1992, when Chris Boardman rode one of its bikes to gold at the 4km individual pursuit at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

The electric era

The new Lotus hypercar will costs an eye-watering £1.7m

The new Lotus hypercar will costs an eye-watering £1.7m - Credit: Archant

The Evija, launched in 2019, is the firm's first EV and marked the start of the company's switch to electric, which will be completed next year. Powered by a 70 kWh battery pack, it is said to be able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in under 3 seconds, from 0 to 299 km/h (186 mph) in under 9 seconds, and achieve a top speed of over 320 km/h (200 mph).