Lotus has long been famous for its lightweight, nimble sports cars such as the Elise, Exige, and the Evora. But last year, the British marque announced that the three long-running models are dead, and the new Emira will serve as the firm's final vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine. From there on out, Lotus will only sell fully electric vehicles.
The move to go electric is part of Geely's rebranding of the Lotus brand. At the same time, Lotus will be building a lot more vehicles compared to before. As part of Lotus' relaunch, the company's first electric model won't be a sports car as most would expect from the British firm. Instead, it will be an electric SUV tentatively called the Type 132, and it will make its debut in China first.
Lotus has yet to release details about the electric SUV apart from its temporary name and a few teaser images. However, it is expected to arrive in China by 2022. Following its debut in China, the electric SUV will then be sold in other markets, such as North America and Europe. Unlike their previous sports cars, which were built in the UK, the electric SUV and other upcoming Lotus EVs will be built at a new facility in China. The facility will be able to produce 150,000 vehicles annually.
“Lotus has always been produced in small batch sizes only, but we will change this and take on Porsche in the premium segment with cars that still have all the sports car characteristics while being safe and comfortable enough to bring one's kids to kindergarten with,” said Flavio Friesen, a senior chief engineer for Geely who spoke with Nikkei Asia.
With Lotus relaunching as an EV brand under Geely next year, there's a lot to expect. Will Geely be able to bring success to the Britsh marque as they did with Volvo? We hope so. It might not be through nimble sportscars, but it will be through EVs like the Type 132.