At the FT Future of the Car Summit, Lotus CEO Phil Popham said the new Type 130, the first all-electric British hypercar, will be “a mind-blowing hypercar, designed, engineered and built in the UK.”
Popham added that the new model will reaffirm Lotus as a sports car manufacturer, a segment they’re focused on developing. He also anticipates that the brand will expand into GTs, crossovers and sporting sedans. He also believes that the weight of batteries was a challenge since Lotus prides itself on designing lightweight vehicles. Yet he thinks the benefits of electric technology aid aerodynamics by keeping the center of gravity low.
“We need to understand the needs of the customer. If you’re driving for 20 minutes on track, do you need the full battery pack?” he said. As for the lack of engine noise? “People will get used to that. It’s really about the performance, the handling,” he held.
Lotus Cars, founded in 1948 by Colin Chapman, is a British automotive company that manufactures sports cars and racing cars in its headquarters in Hethel, United Kingdom. Lotus vehicles have appeared in two James Bond movies, The Spy Who Loved Mein 1977 and For Your Eyes Only in 1981. The former was a Lotus Esprit S1 nicknamed "Wet Nellie" which in the film became a submarine. The latter was a Lotus Esprit Turbo that was specially commissioned for the film.
At the 2019 Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, the new Lotus Type 130 hypercar was confirmed. The first official rendering showed a stylish, low-slung, cab-forward silhouette with a longer tail enhanced for aerodynamics. The model is expected to compete with the Pininfarina Battista and other upscale electric hypercars given that it will cost an estimated £1.5 to £2 million.
Popham told Car Magazine that the Type 130 has been conceived to showcase “capability, intent and design direction.” The company expects to manufacture 1700 units a year, exporting mostly to China, Europe and the US. The company will build a factor in Norfolk to manufacture the Type 130.
Popham said the Type 130 will relaunch the sports car brand, which has been underperforming, though the focus will also be on a more affordable sports car next year and expanding into other market segments.
Lotus’s design director Russell Carr told Car Magazine that the company had noted a trend in Le Mans prototype cars that manage the airflow not only over the car but through it as well. “That gave us a really interesting sculptural opportunity. This is an elegant and fluid car with some cues from the past and also a lot of modern detailing too,” he added.
The official reveal of the Type 130 with specification and full details is expected to take place soon in London where the Lotus was born 71 years ago.