Lotus boss Matt Windle has strong words for petrol purists
This has come in the face of critiscisms of Lotus's move to fully-electric vehicles
With the Lotus Emira launching earlier this year, it's the end of an era for Lotus. The Emira will be the final Lotus to be powered by a combustion engine, as the next generation of Lotus cars will exclusively be electric. We already got a preview of Lotus's electric future with the absolutely mental Evija and the styling cues of the Emira have hinted that elements of the Evija will filter down into the more attainable electric Lotuses. There's also those mysterious sillhouettes that Lotus revealed earlier in the year, one of which being a fully-electric SUV that's aiming to make a decent dent into the Chinese market (Lotus is now owned by Geely, one of China's biggest car companies).
This is a decision that hasn't been universally met with approval, however. In fact, quite a few enthusiasts have been somewhat unhappy with Lotus's choice to go fully-electric by the middle of the 2020s! That's something that Lotus boss Matt Windle has strong words for. "I know some people won’t like it, but we’ve always been innovative and looked for the best solutions," Windle said to Autocar. "There’s a lot of references to what Colin Chapman would have made of it. He was pretty agnostic to powertrains; he just wanted the one that gave the best performance, and that’s what we will do."
"These cars will be fun to drive and will be a premium product which moves Lotus into a different era," Windle was keen to stress.
Windle's comments have come in the wake of the announcement of the car Lotus is currently calling the Type 135. It'll be one of the four new electric cars already teased that'll be arriving from the Hethel-based firm from 2022 and it'll be developed in collaboration with Alpine. Replacing the Elise, which has recently just left the Lotus lineup after being a stalwart there for 25 years, it'll be based around Lotus's new LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture) platform. It'll have 469 hp (nearly twice the power of the most powerful version of the Elise!) in its basic form, whilst the LEVA platform will be 37% lighter than the platform of the current Emira to compensate for the increased weight of batteries and hopefully retain the light weight and sharp handling characteristics that Lotus has built its entire brand upon.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Lotus's transition to electric has been around whether it'll be able to keep the "simplify and add lightness" philosophy that Colin Champan was so insistent on. With Windle being adamant that Lotus will try whatever they can to keep that philosophy intact, it's a sign that Lotus definitely doesn't want to give up on Chapman's simple yet effective philosophy that has made Lotus such a revered sports car brand. Whilst there will still be purists who won't be happy with Lotus's decision, there will be many who won't care what a Lotus is powered by so long as it drives like a Lotus. If Lotus can satisfy those customers, it'll have done its job in transferring Colin Chapman's philosophy to the electric era.