Will 2021 finally be the year Lotus reinvigorates its lineup? It’s been a long time coming, and in recent years the British automaker’s plans to transform itself have fallen flat. Either way, we’ll know sooner rather than later, as the company is targeting a summer unveiling for its next (and probably last) sports car to be powered by an internal combustion engine.
Lotus CEO Phil Popham told Automotive News Europe on Wednesday that the car won’t go into production until 2022 but we’d get a glimpse at it later this year. The unnamed car will range in price from $75,000 to a shade under $145,000, Popham said; for reference, the latest Evora models listed on Lotus’s U.S. website all tend to start at just over $100,000.
Of course, at the moment Lotus sells only the Evora on our shores. The company was forced to quit offering the Elise and Exige in the U.S. a decade ago when Toyota stopped manufacturing the engines used in North American versions; Lotus also failed to update the cars’ airbags to comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations. That’s left the Evora as the only new Lotus that Americans can legally buy, though this upcoming model figures to give customers a slightly cheaper — and ideally more modern — alternative.
“This car will have a wider price point, and that gives us an opportunity in the U.S.,” he said. “To be successful in the sports car market you have to be successful in the U.S.”
Popham said that future Lotus vehicles will be engineered with an eye toward global sales. “Any healthy business spreads its risk in terms of geographic coverage,” he said.
Details on the car are skimpy at the moment, though Popham said that everyday usability was a priority in its development. (This thing really is beginning to sound like the Evora’s second coming, no?)
The new sports car will have a modern electrical architecture to allow for a higher degree of connectivity, Popham said. The platform has been redesigned to remove some of the practical disadvantages of the current one, such a cabin that can be difficult to exit and enter.
“There’s real focus on usability,” Popham said. “It’s a car designed so you can live with it on a day-to-day basis.”
This sports car isn’t the only new project earning Lotus’s attention these days, however. There’s also the 2,000-horsepower Evija hypercar, which was supposed to enter production last summer but was delayed because you know why. Now, Popham says the company is hoping to deliver the Evija to customers “by year end.”
Lotus is also collaborating with Alpine to develop an electric sports car platform that will power something by the middle of the decade. And if that’s not enough, the company is rumored to be hard at work on an electric crossover at a plant in China, home of its corporate owner Geely, according to a report from Autocar in November.
Lotus certainly has a lot of irons in the fire. Let’s hope one or two of them make it out in the next 11 months.