Lotus Evija Hypercar
James May said - what if the sound of a roaring V8 eventually meant that your car was...slow. Obviously right now we are at a crucial juncture between fully electric cars and clean hydrogen fuel research.
The Lotus Evija (pronounced EE-Vi-YA) might be another edition of the electric supercar chapter that brings us closer to that ephemeral union of electric and motorsports. A future where we see Tesla Roadsters, Lotus Evijas and Aspark Owls (yes this is a real thing) - rocketing around with sub two second 0-60s.
There is a crucial difference between the current electric superstars and the Lotus Evija - in that the Evija has 500bhp. That doesn’t sound too dramatic - but it is per wheel. That’s right - a car in production that has 2000bhp. Lotus have managed to keep it light as well - because Lotus. They’ve never made a heavy car.
Each of the 130 examples being put into production will cost £2.4 million. With that, you get four engines 1972bhp - and 0-124mph in under six seconds. That price tag really stings compared to the Tesla Roadster - but you need to know that the Evija will move from 124mph to 186mph in half the time a Bugatti Chiron takes. That is a massive statement of power.
The soon to be poster-boy for the Evija will be wearing a Tron-style livery of Top Gear's own design (an idea linked to the magazine's latest Electric Awards issue's glow-in-the-dark cover). The Evija has a lower centre of gravity than an Evora, and all the battery cells sit behind you in a pyramid-shaped bunch, unlike the flat skateboard battery used in most popular EVs.
So Lotus have really gone against the trend, by putting the supercar engine in a more traditional supercar place - you can be low to the ground in the cockpit - and the Evija can spin round the corners. Everything is tight and drawn into the middle - Lotus has to feel like Lotus.
How much do you get on a full charge?
Lotus had to opt for a relatively small powertrain in comparison to the 200kWh Tesla SLABS - it’s just not an option for a light brand. So they are using a 69kWh battery - which is closer to that of a Nissan Leaf which sounds quite concerning.
But we need to remember this is a track car - it’s not a town runaround. With it’s small battery it will pull over 1G all the way up to 186mph in under 9 seconds. You should be able to get 30 miles flat out - and you aren’t going to do more than that on a track.
Back to the fun stuff
The Evija has the kind of instantaneous acceleration that a naturally aspirated engine can only dream about. The joy of electric hypercars is that there is a totally relentless momentum - no shifting or transmission - simply put your foot down and hold on.
Top Gear said this about the Evija: “It's not so much the initial force that shocks you – Teslas and Taycans have conditioned us to that now – as it is the way it just keeps coming, a pillar of unrelenting shove.”
With that constant 1G acceleration it actually feels like it’s going faster the longer you floor it - that’s the real power of these hypercars.
Even a twin-clutch gearbox necessitates some management, such as knowing when to adjust and at what rpm the motor loses steam, but this is only a two-pedal go-kart with a sizable rocket up the rear end. There is actually something quite terrifying about silent acceleration - air seems so loud and heavy when it didn’t before.
This isn't just a halo car for Lotus; it's a leader in the field of ultra-fast electric vehicles. If Lotus will make this one work, the promise of the supercar is all but assured. It will also kick-start the next step of Lotus' revitalization which would be wonderful.
Lotus has big plans: the new combustion-engined, Evija-inspired Emira sports car will debut in July. Windle plans to increase output from 1,500 to 5,000 cars a year in a brand-new production plant (£100 million has been spent in the Hethel site in the last 18 months), and there is potential to produce more if interest exists.
Lotus will become a pure-electric vehicle manufacturer after Emira, and will last "into the late Twenties," according to Windle. A lightweight electric sports car model is now in the works as part of a joint venture with Alpine, and a Chinese-built electric SUV is on the way.
The Evija isn't just a one-off to display Lotus' technological prowess; it's a signpost for the company's whole future. So we could at least lease some of the more accessible siblings of the Evija - knowing we are in a Lotus and part of that grand history.
Check out our Lotus Driving Experiences at some of the UK's Premier Circuits - from as low as £39!