Lotus’ new Evija factory hall is live and it’s where the final prototypes will be built ahead of first deliveries at the end of 2020. Yes, it’s an all-new Lotus, and they’re building it.
The Lotus Evija first hit the track in November in what Lotus called its dynamic debut. With first deliveries due at the end of 2020, the Evija’s dedicated production hall is now complete.
The new hall is part of a big building program at the Hethel site, with a new heritage centre and visitor’s centre on the way. The production facility backs on to the fabled 3.5km (2.2 miles) circuit, graced by the likes of Jim Clark and Ayrton Senna.
Evijas will begin life in this factory and all 130 will be hand-built on-site. Lotus broke ground on the site around six months ago. Three gantries support the equipment required to build an Evija.
Overhead is a gantry crane and a series of vehicle lifts to move the cars around as they progress through the build stations. A wheel alignment ramp is likely the car’s last stop before a shakedown run on the adjacent track.
Lotus says the project was built by 20 specialist contractors with another 50 consultants (the press release said ‘experts’). And the facility has 30,000 LEDs to provide lighting as well as a light tunnel for final inspection.
This is now the newest car production facility in the world, and to witness it move from the drawing board to reality has been deeply satisfying. It’s testament to the commitment of all involved and is the perfect sleek and high-tech production home for the Evija at our iconic Hethel headquartersPhil Popham, Lotus Cars CEO
“The Evija is a Statement of Intent”
Lotus has had something of a weird decade, even by its own high standards of weird.
I interviewed David McIntyre, Executive Director Asia-Pacific at the recent Lotus Only event at Bathurst. He conceded things have been a bit strange.
(The full interview will be up later in the week)
“If you look at the history of press communications of Lotus over previous years, a lot of things have been confirmed, then not happened. We don’t want to do that. Now when we present something, it’s happening. So Evija, we showed recently, we’re building it.”
To some, the Evija might be fascinating, but is it really a Lotus, a company famous for lightweight sports cars?
“In electric hypercars, we are the lightest. Evija weighs 1680kg. Depending on who you look at, that’s roughly 300kg less than other cars in that segment. The way that we’ve mounted the batteries is actually rear mid-engined, which is great for vehicle dynamics, for changing direction. We’re applying the DNA of Lotus in different ways in different segments. They’re still valid no matter where we operate.”
Lotus fans should be encouraged by his use of the word “segments” because it seems, finally, there is the money and a plan to rebuild Lotus.
We’ll know more next year when the new sports car – still with an internal combustion engine – makes its debut.
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.