Currently reading: New Lotus electric sports car to use Britishvolt batteries
Lotus previews new electric sports car as it partners with UK-based battery maker

Lotus will use batteries supplied by Britishvolt for a new electric sports car, which it has previewed in a design sketch.

The two firms have signed a memorandum of understanding to "collaborate on the research and development of advanced EV technology". 

The main focus of the programme will be developing batteries for Lotus's upcoming family of electric sports cars – the first of which, likely to be the car previewed below, is the two-seat Type 135, due in 2026.

The new sketch suggests the model will take design influence from historic Lotus sports cars including the Esprit and Europa, with a low-slung, cab-forward silhouette, prominent front wings and pronounced rear haunches. 

Lotus ev sports car

The new follows last week's announcement that Britishvolt had secured £1.7 billion in investment from new backers Tritax and Abrdn to fund the production of its battery factory in Blyth, Northumberland, which is set to be operational in 2024.

An earlier investment from the government's Automotive Transformation Fund is understood to have contributed another £100 million to the scheme.

Lotus is the first company to be named as a Britishvolt customer, and the battery maker has promised to name more in "a series of announcements" over the coming weeks.

It has previously referred to "relationships with blue-chip automotive sports car brands" but has given no further details.

Priorities for the Lotus sports EV in particular will be fast-charging capability, optimising energy density and keeping weight down – the latter of which will remain a hallmark of Lotus sports cars into the electric era.

Lotus recently confirmed that its new E-Sports platform for electric sports cars can accommodate batteries arranged conventionally under the floor or stacked up behind the seats to mimic a mid-engined layout.

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99 Under the skin lotus ev platform lead

The latter, managing director Matt Windle told Autocar last year, will give "the yaw control and stability that we’re used to setting cars up around” while enabling a “sports car feel”.

The Norfolk-based manufacturer has previously said the smallest battery paired with the E-Sports platform will be a 66.4kWh unit, while the largest will up capacity to 99.6kWh.

Britishvolt hasn't given further technical details of the batteries that it will develop with Lotus. 

Lotus hailed the new partnership with Britishvolt – specific details of which, including output targets and cost per unit, haven't been detailed – as "another significant development in the ongoing transformation of Lotus from a UK sports car company to a global and all-electric performance car business and brand". 

It noted that the project will "benefit from the close proximity" of its own research-and-development centre and that of Britishvolt in the West Midlands. 

Windle said: "Lotus is delighted to be collaborating with Britishvolt to develop new battery cell technology to showcase the thrilling performance that a Lotus EV sports car can deliver. 

"These are the first exciting steps on the journey towards an all-new electric sports car from Lotus and yet another step towards the transformation towards sustainable, renewable electricity stored in batteries.”

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Separately from its efforts to build a range of electric sports cars at its Hethel headquarters, Lotus will also put its name to a four-strong family of lifestyle-oriented EVs to be built at a new facility in Wuhan, China. The first of these, the Type 132 SUV, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Britishvolt chief commercial officer Oliver Jones suggested the partnership will ultimately have implications for customers in more mainstream segments, saying: "This MoU demonstrates that the legacy one-size-fits-all cell strategy is no longer valid in the rapidly developing electric mobility market. 

"It also reinforces Britishvolt’s differentiation strategy of close customer intimacy and partnering to fully optimise battery solutions and enable the differentiation so important to these iconic brands' products.

"As in Formula 1, this high-performance research and development will ultimately cascade down to influence the electro chemistries of more affordable batteries and EVs."

Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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Pietro Cavolonero 29 January 2022

A new venture on British soil is "crashed and burned" before it has begun. I despair of all the "haters" on here.

What is wrong with you people?

jason_recliner 29 January 2022

The Curse of Brexit strikes again!

Symanski 29 January 2022
jason_recliner wrote:

The Curse of Brexit strikes again!

If anything you'd have to thank the EU for insisting that the batteries are either made in the EU or in Britian to avoid the traiffs Brexiters wanted imposed on all British goods.   It was them who were demanding "WTO rules".   The EU did you a favour in that respect.


Citytiger 28 January 2022

I suspect Lotus may get batterys from Mercedes in the short term if BV ones are not available on time, they are already supplying engines, and Geely own shares in Mercedes so that would probably make more sense.