This Lotus Design Study Is A Jet Plane For The Ground

Illustration for article titled This Lotus Design Study Is A Jet Plane For The Ground
Image: Lotus

Lotus is dead set on making the best of their ridiculous 2,000-horsepower EV drivetrain and their latest design, the E-R9, takes all of that power and wraps it in a race car that you could almost mistake for an SR-71 Blackbird, were it not for its gold-tone and, oh yeah, four wheels.

The Lotus E-R9 is just a design study, for now, meaning it’s a long way from production but the carmaker is projecting that the E-R9 will find its way to the race track in 2030. That gives the company plenty of time to bring the car to life, but the drivetrain is already set.

Illustration for article titled This Lotus Design Study Is A Jet Plane For The Ground
Image: Lotus
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Illustration for article titled This Lotus Design Study Is A Jet Plane For The Ground
Image: Lotus

And if the EV can materialize within Lotus’s timeframe, it would be right on time for the carmaker’s 75th anniversary, which is why the car has been designated the E-R9. It’s a callback to the Lotus Mark IX that raced in Le Mans in 1955, a race that is infamous in other ways.

Lotus says the E-R9 will rock an electric drivetrain derived from the Lotus Evija, with four electric motors — one at each wheel — with torque vectoring, though in the E-R9 that system will be in the hands of the driver and will be fully adjustable at the driver’s discretion.

Illustration for article titled This Lotus Design Study Is A Jet Plane For The Ground
Image: Lotus
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But Lotus isn’t just adding adjustability to the drivetrain. The E-R9 builds off the aero developments from the Evija and leans into them. Lotus says that the E-R9 will have adjustable body panels that will change the car’s aerodynamics.

Here’s what Lotus says about the whiz-bang aero:

Chief among the car’s [...] innovations are its ‘morphing’ body panels. Located across the delta-wing profile, this adaptability – where active surfaces can change their shape and attitude to the air flow either at the press of a button by the driver or automatically according to performance sensor inputs – would deliver minimum drag on the straights and maximum downforce in the corners. Vertical control surfaces at the rear would generate aerodynamic forces to help the car change direction, without the limitations of grip at the tyre contact patch. The result is a racer that’s partly driven like a car and partly flown like a fighter jet.

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Lotus is really talking up that angle, but to be fair the E-R9 does look like a track-bound jet plane and with performance possibly surpassing that of the Evija it wouldn’t take a lot to make this thing fly. Maybe a well-placed ramp.

Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

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DISCUSSION

nkann
Sgt. Pegleg

Great engineering design, but it will be greatly changed before 2030, I’m sure. Also, as much as I love and want to see all these aero bits in action (I love the theory), I have to imagine that it will all be Formula’d out of regulation in pretty much any series.

In addition, how the hell am I going to carry a 8x4 stack of plywood with this thing on my daily 600 mile round trip commute to Home Depot? I bet it sucks at towing, too. All that wasted space under the cockpit could be used to haul tools around, as well. And, I bet it doesn’t even have hand controls. How am I supposed to drive this thing? And where will I put my wheelchair when I have all that plywood? It’s like designers aren’t even trying anymore...