The zero-emissions Evija is spearheading Lotus’ agenda chock-full of EVs as the Geely-owned brand will launch its last car with a combustion engine in 2021. Every new model that will come after what many believe will be an Esprit spiritual successor will drop the ICE, which for many years has been sourced from Toyota.
The most valuable money-maker won’t be the Evija or the other sports cars that will follow later this decade. An SUV will fill the role of a cash cow for the Norfolk-based marque, and a new report from Autocar claims to shed some light about the high-riding Lotus. Initially believed to adopt a hybrid powertrain, the “Lambda” as it is known internally will apparently ditch the combustion engine altogether.
Colin Chapman’s “simplify, then add lightness” ethos will have to be adapted for the SUV recipe, and Lotus is believed to be targeting a curb weight of under 2,000 kilograms (4,409 pounds). That’s a far cry from the 1,256 kg (2,769 lbs) curb weight of the Evora GT410 Sport, but that’s to be expected once you factory in those heavy batteries.
The Lambda SUV is expected to ride on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture adapted by Lotus engineers with a focus on shaving off weight as much as possible. It is believed the model is being engineered with a dual-motor setup good for 600 horsepower in a base version and up to 750 hp in range-topping trim.
According to Autocar, the unspecified battery pack will have enough juice for approximately 360 miles (580 kilometers), although the development team has an “ambition to go beyond that.” That number is likely based on the WLTP cycle, which would translate into a shorter range per EPA’s measurements.
It is believed the world reveal is programmed to take place sometime in 2022, but sales won’t commence until 2023. While production could technically take place at home in Norfolk where the Hethel factory is being upgraded, that site will be reserved for the sports cars.
Consequently, the first Lotus SUV in history will reportedly be assembled at a new plant in Wuhan where Geely can pump out 150,000 units per year of its Chinese-market vehicles. A part of the factory will be dedicated to the Lotus on stilts, and other Geely factories around the world might do the same if demand will be strong.
See the 2023 Lotus SUV and all of the other upcoming new cars in our list of future cars for 2021-2025.
Note: Lotus Lambda SUV speculative rendering pictured.