Lotus Engineering, the division that acts as an engineering consultant for third-party clients, is set to be expanded under new leadership. Boss Miguel Fragoso has begun reinvigorating the division, with a new commercial director appointed. Fragoso has kept a team “working on the areas instrumental in maintaining our capability”, such as advanced structures, dynamics, propulsion systems and electronic controls.
During the cost-cutting drive under previous Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales, Lotus Engineering’s contribution to the group’s turnover dwindled to as little as 15%. In the past, it has contributed almost half. However, Fragoso has credited Gales with bringing “the financial discipline that it didn’t have. That made it more attractive for an investor.”
Recent projects have included an exploratory exercise in collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover for the government’s Technology Strategy Board and two projects with unnamed Japanese companies.
“We’ve been able to keep some extraordinary talent,” said Fragoso. He also pointed out that by offering services in these areas, “we are more than subject specialists, we are a car company ourselves”, providing additional insight.
For these reasons and because of the fresh impetus behind Lotus Engineering, Fragoso said: “We’re back in business.” It’s a business he divides into two broad areas: one being the familiar mainstream car makers, the other start-ups. Within this, he said: “We will be working with Geely.” For the future, Fragoso said: “We want to be among the leading companies providing these services. And these companies aren’t small.”
Assisting this ambition will be the fact that Lotus is now developing the electric Evija hypercar and a new family of sports cars, a process that exposes it more fully to the latest technologies, better enabling it to take on “projects that align with our sports car plans”.