Lotus is confident it can generate revenues from its new bespoke EV hardware, in much the same way the original Elise’s bonded-aluminium architecture went on to underpin a raft of sports cars from other manufacturers.
The best-known Elise-based sports cars are the Vauxhall VX220 and Tesla Roadster, but the platform’s chief engineer, Richard Rackham, estimates there have been “probably 10 times as many”, highlighting that use of Lotus’s expertise is wider than broadcast – and underlining just how influential that lightweight structure was.
Now Rackham is working on a new Lotus platform for the electric era that could end up matching the Elise underpinnings for both longevity (if required) and for model proliferation, both within Lotus and outside.
“We’re way ahead of the game now,” he told Autocar. It can be stretched from the size of the Porsche 718 Cayman to the Ferrari SF90 Stradale and will be offered to anyone. “This platform will underpin many vehicles from different manufacturers,” he confirmed.
This is the E-Sports platform, which we already know will underpin a Lotus sports car from 2026 and an Alpine one from 2025. It’s adaptable enough to fit the batteries either behind the driver to keep occupants nice and low or under them to expand the cabin, affording a four-seater.
It won’t produce saloons or SUVs, though. That side of the future Lotus range, starting with an electric SUV from next year, will use platforms created by parent company Geely.
Although the electric Lotus sports car is still five years away, Rackham and his team have already designed the most complicated bit: the rear structure that supports the battery box, drive unit (with one or two motors) and suspension.