By on April 27, 2021

Lotus Cars has announced that the Emira sports car will be its next and final internal combustion model as it prepares itself to become an exclusively electric brand. The historically British manufacturer says its Chinese owners, the Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, are preparing a cash injection of $2.8 billion to swap to EVs and expand its footprint.

While the present market makes those items feel as though they could conflict with each other, Lotus thinks that the climate will be different a few years from now and plans on going EV only by 2028. In the meantime, the Emira is scheduled to launch in July.

Base-model Emiras will come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (likely sourced from Volvo/Geely) while higher end trims get the same supercharged Toyota V6 that’s in the Evora and costs substantially more. While the company hasn’t said how the vehicles will be priced, it did say to expect it to fall within the existing lineup.

This excludes the Evija EV that will be going into production later this year, which probably has many breathing a sigh of relief. The plug-in model will have a limited production run of 130 units and is supposed to retail at an estimated $2.3 million. Saying it’s something different for the brand is an understatement, though so is the Emira (bottom of the page).

Rather than shooting for the maximum amount of performance physics will allow, the coupe is focused on updating equipment and making Lotus products more livable. Ditching rollup windows, adding infotainment, and trying to mitigate NVH is likely to make the Emira pudgier than its soon-to-be-discontinued siblings. But we’ll have to wait to see if that makes the model less exciting to drive.

Regardless, this is to be the internal combustion engine’s last hurrah with the company. Lotus said that all subsequent products will be battery-electric only, without the need to soften the transition by building a decade of hybrids. Leadership has said that the firm might have clung to the idea of building vehicles designed almost entirely around driving excitement for too long, hurting its sales volume in the process. But the new solution seems almost as extreme and kind of makes the Lotus tradition of building featherweight cars impossible. Battery packs are extremely heavy, though engineers can use them to keep the center of mass exceptionally low.

Lotus currently manufactures a little over 1,000 extremely lightweight sports cars annually. But Geely thinks it can expand that figure tenfold by tapping online sales, expanding its dealer network around the globe, and making Lotus products more mainstream.

[Images: Lotus Cars]

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14 Comments on “Lotus Says Emira Will Be Its Last Gasoline Powered Model...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    It’s nice to see an update from British Alfa Romeo.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Kiss Lotus goodbye.

    It’s already sad that Lotus is sourcing engines from others; now they’ll have to siphon off someone else’s EV tech to make a vehicle. The days of lightness are over, and low-volume EV mfrs are a dime a dozen, each with a limited lifespan.

    • 0 avatar

      It is not English brand anymore so that was expected. It is just name with no substance. Some brands will die with ICE and will be replaced with new pure BEV ones.

    • 0 avatar
      kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

      Your trolling is getting pretty bad, they have been using lightly modified Toyota/Geely engines for DECADES with GREAT reliable success. And before that Rover-k’s and they themselves did work on a engine BP for Chrysler ..

      Since a 360hp Tesla motor weights 70 pounds it is no big deal. All you need is the batteries and cabling. I guarantee Lotus already has figured out how to reduce the weight penalty .. were talking about Elise here… the ORIGINAL TESLA :D

      Embrace the electrons .. you have no choice in about 30 years..

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        “Embrace the electrons”

        Already there; I’m on my second EV.

      • 0 avatar
        here4aSammich

        And there’s the problem. We are living in today, not 30 years from now. I fully acknowledge that fully electric is the future, but these companies rushing to move to full EV are going to be making useless expensive vehicles in the short term. will we be able to use electric vehicles as conveniently and cheaply as ICE vehicles by 2030, let alone 2050? I’m assuming you are young enough to forget malaise-era vehicles, when the government told automakers to build vehicles for which the technology wasn’t ready. They were [email protected] The current EV makers have yet to get the price down in order to meet the needs of all socio-economic groups, haven’t solved the ability to charge as quickly I can refuel, and haven’t fixed the cold weather range problem we face in northern climes. And best of all, they haven’t solved the pollution problem all these batteries will create, or how the power grid will handle all these vehicles plugging in.

        I recently drove a nice 5 series from Detroit to the Florida Keys. 3 stops for gas on the way down. Knoxville, Gainesville FL, and a top off Homestead FL because the price of gas goes up by about 40 cents a gallon south of the 7 Mile Bridge. I could’ve gotten there without the 3rd stop. Total of maybe 30 minutes to refuel. Tesla’s website says I need 9 stops and 6 HOURS to recharge along the same route. Better yet, Tesla says I will “save” $215 in gas. I didn’t spend more than $150 on premium.

        These automakers are rushing to full EV before the market and technology is ready. But hey, it looks good, right?

        • 0 avatar
          Yankee

          @here4aSammich:

          Think you hit the nail on the head. I’m all for electric vehicles in principal (what’s not to love about low maintenance and a flat torque curve?), I’m concerned about being the one left holding the bag on a used EV with a bad battery. Unlike hybrids, where the battery can be removed relatively easily and the aftermarket has stepped up with refurbishment options, what is an owner to do when the battery takes up the whole floor of the car? Your comparison to malaise era cars is a good one. Nothing good happens when the government dictates car design. Whether it’s the awful emissions controls of the 1970s, or the not-ready-for-prime-time airbags of the 1980s that killed people (or the other choice of motorized belts that just made people hate their cars a little bit more). Electric cars will remain rich boy toys until the necessary infrastructure is built, economically viable recycling is in place, and battery technology makes them affordable for the second, not just the first owner.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            “Electric cars will remain rich boy toys until the necessary infrastructure is built”

            Which EVs are you referring to – the ones that cost $30k, or the ones that cost $130k?

            Mine was $30k new, and I have the ‘necessary infrastructure’ in my garage.

            IMO, the rich boy toys are the myriad of pickups and SUVs people seem to afford with no trouble. Somehow a $50k Model 3 is a “rich boy’s toy” but a $50k Honda Pilot Elite isn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Yankee

            SCE to Aux:

            Point taken. I was thinking of all the Teslas I see in a ritzy area where I work. Still, Chevrolet website lists a Bolt “starting at” $31,000, which is a bit much for a small hatchback, don’t you think? My point is that electrics have yet to come to a competitive price point for the average person. I would love to get an electric car, but I would be in the cheap seats as a used buyer, as I don’t want to spend 30K on any vehicle, much less one that has a finite, but as yet unknown life expectancy when the batteries go kaput. It’s not even in the same league as replacing an engine or transmission at this point. Kudos to you for taking the plunge though. I’m sure if enough people do the price will come down.

  • avatar
    brn

    Lotus has been riding a roller coaster for the last 15 years or so. Eventually, they’re going to fly off the track.

    It’s too bad. They were once a pretty neat company.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    So sad to hear of the end of Lotus. I knew they were having problems, but I never imagined they’d commit suicide by BEV and leave their investors holding the bag.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    They going to go full circle and just put Tesla drivetrains in an Elise chassis and sell them as a Lotus instead of a Tesla this time? I might be interested in such a vehicle honestly.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I’m curious about the number of incidents resulting in a collision where the driver allowed “autopilot” to function unattended and unmonitored because the driver believed that the system was capable of safely controlling the car, despite all official documentation to the contrary. I wonder what it says, exactly, in Tesla’s documentation about the system and it’s capability, and what is implied. What kind of a person ignores their owners manual but trusts some internet “source” with no credentials? If I was going to trust a piece of mountain climbing equipment with my life I’d be damn certain it was up to the task. I think people are allowing autopilot to operate their car and, seeing that it does a good job of following painted lane lines, they convince themselves that the capability run much deeper – and they don’t.

  • avatar
    NG5

    I would love to consider an EV for “fun” driving if they are under 2300lbs – the approximate cutoff where attainable sports cars with uninteresting engines are excused because driving them is fun anyway. Lotus PLEASE simplify and add lightness!

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