The electric successor to the Lotus Elise – due to go on sale in 2027 at around £75,000 – will be an “essential” part of the Lotus line-up, according to company bosses.
Codenamed Type 135, the new two-seat sports car will replace the Emira, the firm’s final combustion-engined car.
The new BEV will be developed and built in Hethel, Norfolk, and will be the fourth and final model of Lotus’s Vision80 project, following the Eletre large SUV, Emeya saloon and forthcoming Type 134 D-segment SUV.
Mike Johnstone, the Lotus Group’s chief commercial officer, told Autocar that meeting the Type 135's target price was “key”.
He said: “It’s something that’s not a big step on from where we are at the moment, but we recognised that there’s going to be a lot of new technology. That’s an engineering challenge: it’s where we need to get to in the market. So our teams will need to work fastidiously to make sure we can get the price to that level.”
While the Type 135 will be a relatively small-volume car (Lotus is aiming for annual sales of 10,000-15,000, compared with 50,000 for the Eletre and 90,000 for the Type 134), Johnstone said it's still a crucial model for the brand.
“We call it the bullseye,” he said. “At the very centre [of the brand] always has to be that lightweight sports car. That gives you the credibility to build other products that have sporty characteristics.
"We’re not naive enough to say that the Eletre is going to feel like an Elise. It won’t. But it has a lightweight feeling, and we think it’s the best-handling SUV you can drive.
“We need the bullseye of the brand, which has to be that two-seat sports car. Otherwise we’re just a brand with a Lotus badge. The sports car is an essential part of our future.”