Lotus plans to launch four new EVs by 2026, including 2 SUVs – plant in China to begin operations this year

After presenting its final internal combustion engine car with the Lotus Emira in July, the British carmaker has now announced that it will launch four new, fully-electric models for global markets in the next five years.

The first will be the company’s much-awaited SUV, currently codenamed Type 132 (and rumoured to be called the Lambda), which will be an E-segment vehicle arriving in 2022. This will be followed in 2023 by an E-segment four-door sedan codenamed Type 133.

In 2025, we’ll witness the debut of the Type 134, a new D-segment SUV, while a year later, there will be a new sports car, the Type 135, joining the fold in 2026. Based on the teaser image provided, all four share the wing-inspired twin blade lighting design also seen on the Evija and Emira.

According to the carmaker, the premium lifestyle vehicles, namely the Type 132, Type 133 and Type 134, will be built on the Evolution architecture, which is one of four new platforms that the company announced during its Driving Tomorrow conference in April.

The Evolution architecture supports a wheelbase range from 2,889-3,100 mm and further, and supports development of vehicles ranging from C+ to E segments. The platform can also accommodate 92-120 kWh batteries, is compatible with 800-volt high-speed EV charging, and products underpinned by it are capable of accelerating from 0-100 km/h in under three seconds.

Meanwhile, the Type 135 sports car will ride on the E-Sports platform, which will be jointly developed between Lotus and Alpine. The company isn’t providing much in the way of details for this just yet, but has noted that the architecture will be flexible and modular.

As for the remaining platforms, the Elemental architecture is currently used for the Emira and is a development of Lotus’ well-known extruded bonded aluminium technology. Finally, there’s the Extreme platform that underpins the company’s Evija hypercar.

These products are part of Lotus’ Vision80 strategic plan that outlines the transformation of Lotus ahead of its 80th birthday in 2028. The plan also entails the setting up of Lotus Technology, which is a new division of Group Lotus that will have its headquarters completed in Wuhan, China by 2024.

Lotus Technology is supported by another EV maker, Nio, which is an investor in the division, as well as Lotus’ majority stakeholder, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. As rumoured previously, Lotus will also begin producing EVs in Wuhan at a new manufacturing plant slated to open later this year. Covering an area of over one million square metres, the plant was built with an investment of over 900 million pounds (around RM5.1 billion) and is capable of producing 150,000 vehicles annually.

The plant also features an integrated test track with 16 corners and can accommodate vehicles driving at speeds of up to 230 km/h. It also sports and advanced system whereby vehicles can be transported into workshops using autonomous driving technology without any human intervention.

“This is an important day in the transformation of the Lotus business and brand. Lotus Technology will accelerate the innovation which has always been at the heart of the business. Together the China and UK teams will empower our journey towards an expanded, intelligent and electric future, achieving the ambitions and goals that have been in the making for 73 years of the Lotus brand,” said Feng Qingfeng, CEO, Group Lotus.

“Transforming Lotus from a UK sports car company to a truly global performance car company has always been at the core of Vision80. The launch of Lotus Technology is a major milestone on the road to making that a reality, while adhering to the unwavering Lotus principles of pure performance, efficiency, motorsport success and, above all, being ‘For the Drivers’,” added Matt Windle, managing director of Lotus Cars.

Li Bin, the founder of Nio, added that Lotus shares many common interests with Nio in the field of intelligent electric mobility, and while it may only be an investor in Lotus Technology, he said that both parties may explore opportunities for mutually beneficial industrial cooperation in the future.

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