Most producers have dropped that strategy, but Lotus chose another route altogether. Instead of pushing against change, the legendary British automaker focused on developing solutions.
New EV platform preserves Lotus’ lightweight heritage
When Colin Chapman started Lotus in 1948, he founded the company on the concept of simplifying sports cars and making them lighter. Jeremiah Burton from
Donut Mediasays that ethos is hard to hold onto as the industry moves toward electric powertrains.
EV batteriesare notoriously heavy. The Tesla Model S, for example, weighs 4,500 lbs, about the same as a Ford F-150. Lotus’ first electric model, the Eviya, comes in at 3,700 lbs, but that’s still much heavier than today’s gas-powered super cars.
To bring that number down, the company developed LEVA—lightweight electric vehicle architecture. Built out of a revolutionary dye-casted aluminum alloy, LEVA is light but also stronger than most auto parts.
Lotus is making the new casting process commercially available to other automakers, and Alpine and Renault are already on board.
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How could Lotus’ new EV platform reshape the auto industry?
The innovations behind the LEVA platform go farther than adding lightness and strength. It also supports multiple configurations, allowing Lotus to design multiple models without having to start from scratch, much like
Lotus also built a new battery pack that can be stacked behind the seats for a short two-seater sports cars, or between the chassis—like a skateboard—for SUVs with longer wheelbases.
On top of that, they developed software for analyzing the new battery’s health. Burton says the program creates a “digital twin” for each car, a sort of simulated prototype that helps the automaker pinpoint design flaws before creating physical mock-ups, saving them tons of money.
The adaptable platform and its safety software both have the potential to shake up the
auto industryas it moves away from components designed for cars with internal combustion engines.
What will Lotus’ LEVA-built electric cars cost to own?
Lotuses are not what you would call affordable vehicles. But with the flexibility of the LEVA platform, the company has positioned itself to offer a wide range of vehicles with a wide range of prices as well.
Because of this, it’s tough to say how much the brand’s EVs will cost at the dealership. And by the time these
new modelsreach consumers, other costs like car insurance could change dramatically, too.