Lotus has unveiled cutting edge technology that will underpin its future electric sports car designs.
Lotus’s research programme, Project LEVA, has developed a new lightweight chassis structure that is 37% lighter than the Lotus Emira V6. “Lotus now has the ‘blueprint’ for the next generation of electric sports cars for future Lotus products and for the Lotus Engineering consultancy to commercialise,” said Richard Moore, Executive Director at Lotus Cars.
Project LEVA worked in partnership with Sarginsons Industries and Brunel University London to develop the new designs, which were displayed at the Low Carbon Vehicle event staged by Cenex, the UK’s Low Carbon and Fuel Cells Centre of Excellence, at Millbrook Proving Ground, Bedfordshire.
“Today’s electric vehicles are heavy in comparison to their internal combustion engine equivalent,” Moore added. “Lotus has innovated earlier in the product cycle and developed a new vehicle architecture that targets lightweight and performance density from conception.”
By eliminating bolt-on subframes, upgrading the multi-link suspension components, and employing the vehicle structure as the battery enclosure, Project LEVA’s innovations have achieved significant weight savings, says Richard Rackham, Head of Vehicle Concepts at Lotus. “There’s been a focus on ultimate performance, efficiency and safety being engineered into the structure from the outset,” he said.
The innovative design features a die-cast rear sub-frame with multiple interchangeable components. The highly adaptable technology can accommodate different layouts, wheelbase lengths, battery sizes and layouts.
Two different types of battery configurations can be supported by the new vehicle architecture. A ‘chest’ layout, where modules are stacked vertically behind the two seats, is suitable for sports cars and hypercars, while a ‘slab’ layout, where the modules are integrated horizontally under the cabin, is used in vehicles with a higher ride height. The versatility of Project LEVA’s innovations means that there will be a wide range of electric vehicle applications.
The recently revealed Lotus electric sports car, Type 135, could feature the new lightweight design. The model is scheduled to launch in 2026.
The premiere of the lightweight chassis technology follows Lotus’ recent reveal of a new range of EV performance cars, its announcement of an all-electric future last year, and the launch of the Evija electric hypercar.
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||WHEELBASE||BATTERY SIZE / CONFIGURATION||MAXIMUM BATTERY POWER||EDU LAYOUT / MAX POWER|
|Two-seater||Minimum of 2,470mm||8-module / chest||66.4kWh||Single / 350kW|
|Two-seater||More than 2,650mm||12-module / chest||99.6kWh||Twin / 650kW|
|2+2||More than 2,650mm||8-module / slab||66.4kWh||Single / 350 kW or Twin / 650kW|