Lotus announced the Emira First Edition for the United States all the way back in 2021, but deliveries of the British sports car still haven't begun. Hundreds of units are sitting at dealer lots across the US because Lotus has yet to receive emissions certification with the California Air Resource Board (CARB).
The news of the Emira's delayed launch comes after years of supply-related constraints for the sports car brand. But the wait might be over soon. A Lotus spokesperson told Automotive News it made software updates to the Emira's powertrain to certify the car with CARB. That process has finished, but the environmental regulator hasn't yet provided the final stamp of approval. Now, according to Lotus, prospective owners just have to wait until the certification is approved.
Gallery: 2024 Lotus Emira First Drive
Fourteen states currently adhere to CARB's emissions rules, including places like New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. The other 36 states follow the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) vehicle regulations. Lotus isn't selling the Emira in the EPA-regulated states because buyers could conceivably flip the cars in CARB-regulated areas where the model's powertrain would not meet the local statutes, and therefore couldn't be registered.
The six-cylinder version of the Emira doesn't use a particularly exotic engine. A Toyota 2GR-FE 3.5-liter V6 with an Edelbrock 1740 supercharger provides 400 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. It's actually less powerful than the 416-hp Evora GT, which used same the force-inducted, Toyota-sourced mill. The Emira's rev limit is 6,800 rpm, versus the Evora's 7,200, to prevent the valves from floating during hard driving. Theoretically, it shouldn't be too difficult to get an engine that's received CARB certification in the past to get the same certification again.
The Toyota V6 isn't the only engine Lotus plans to use in the Emira. The company will offer a four-cylinder Emira in the US later down the line. The Mercedes-AMG-sourced turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will make 360 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. Both versions are available to configure on the company's American site, but there's no word on when sales of the four-cylinder model will begin, or if it too is being held up by CARB regulations.
Unsurprisingly, users on the Lotus Talk forum are not happy about the Emira situation, seeing as how some of them placed reservations as far back as 2021. Members have posted pictures of rows of cars with "Sold" signs on them, just waiting for the CARB certification so deliveries can begin. Researching the Emira on Autotrader shows 186 listings in the US. However, some are marked "Sale Pending," so the actual number of cars available is likely a bit lower. Prices range from $94,062 to $109,150.