Whatever your current thoughts are on the iconic British sports car brand, it looks like the Type 130 could herald the Second Coming for Lotus.
It has been a tough decade for Lotus. Changes of owner and leadership (including the now infamous appointment of Danny Bahar) has meant that on the face of things, not much has changed in terms of product lineup or sales for Lotus Cars. The model range remains largely the same since the introduction of the Lotus Elise in 2006 with just one entirely new car platform (Evora) being developed since then. With only 274 cars sold in the UK and 1,630 worldwide, you’d be forgiven for wondering how Lotus are managing to hang on in there….
There are a number of reasons, and arguably the most compelling is the involvement of Geely at Lotus. If you haven’t heard of them, Geely is a Chinese car manufacturer that bought a 51% stake of Lotus in 2017. Geely also owns Volvo (since 2010), Proton (previous owners of Lotus), the London Taxi Company (now London EV company) and new electric brands Polestar and Lynk & Co.
In a recent interview in March 2019 with the Financial Times, new Lotus CEO Phil Popham confirmed that Geely would be investing “billions” into Lotus over the next five years.
Just four weeks later, Lotus announced its first all-new product in more than a decade – the Lotus Type 130 all-electric hypercar.
“Type 130 will be the most dynamically accomplished Lotus in our history. It marks a turning point for our brand and is a showcase of what we are capable of and what is to come from Lotus.” CEO Phil Popham.
Type 130 will be a similar size to the Evora, with a powertrain developed by Williams Advanced Engineering tipped to exceed 1000 bhp and with a 250+ mile electric range according to Autocar. It will also feature moveable wing elements and DRS. No doubt it will draw a comparison with the Aston Martin Valkyrie although Lotus are keen to point out that this is a car for the road, not just the track.
The Type 130 will be fully revealed in London in 2019.
A turning point for the brand, or has the rest of the world just caught up?
The problem for any small sports car manufacturer is that we’ve all heard this type of rhetoric before – just ask fans of TVR or Jensen. But is it possible that Lotus have been holding the key to the future of sports car design in their hands all this time?
Colin Chapman’s design philosophy of “Simplify, then add lightness” is one that is sure to resonate with petrolheads and environmentalists alike as we enter the twilight years of the combustion engine.
With Geely’s financial muscle and electric-car know behind Lotus, we might just be seeing the start of a new revolution for one of the world’s greatest automotive brands.