Lotus has teased its latest all-electric sports car, and successor to the Elise, that is set to arrive in 2026.
The new EV sports car is set to replace the Elise on Lotus’ lineup, production of which, like the Evora and Exige, drew to a close last December. The new EV will also be only the second electric performance car to don the Lotus badge after the 2,000 kW / 1,972 hp Evija hypercar launched last year.
Oddly, few details about the new EV were given in Lotus’ official release, save the sleek silhouette reminiscent of the Esprit. Unlike the pointed nose however – also an Esprit hallmark – the rear haunches in the teaser more closely reflect Lotus’ latest design language.
Plans for the new EV sports car were originally outlined in August last year, Lotus confirming that the codenamed ‘Type 135’ would follow the E-segment ‘Type 132’ SUV set to arrive this Spring, a ‘Type 133’ four-door coupe due in 2023, and a ‘Type ‘134’ D-segment SUV penciled in for 2025.
While the preceding lifestyle vehicles will use the new Lotus Premium architecture – compatible for models with wheelbases between 2,889 mm and 3,100 mm in length, and batteries between 92 kWh and 120 kWh in size – the 2026 sports car will sit atop a new E-Sports chassis co-developed with Renault Group’s Alpine brand. One dynamically developed specifically “for the drivers,” and thus almost certainly to be used on the next generation Alpine A110 as well.
Alongside the teaser, Lotus also confirmed a new partnership with British battery cell specialist Britishvolt, a collaboration that will co-develop “an innovative new battery cell package to power the next generation of electric sports cars from Lotus.” Key areas of development will include fast-charging, optimised energy density and weight reduction.
“Lotus is delighted to be collaborating with Britishvolt to develop new battery cell technology to showcase the thrilling performance that a Lotus EV sports car can deliver,” Lotus Managing Director Matt Windle explained in an official statement. “These are the first exciting steps on the journey towards an all-new electric sports car from Lotus, and yet another step towards the transformation towards sustainable, renewable electricity stored in batteries.”
This partnership is the latest step in Lotus’ drive towards electrification. Last year, the British carmaker – now owned by Chinese conglomerate Geely – confirmed £100 million (around $1.7m) would be invested into new manufacturing centres at Hethel for production of the Evija and Emira. Similarly, expansion of BritishVolt’s manufacturing facility in Northumberland began last September, with the aim of raising production capacity to “over 30 GWh” by the end of the decade.
Lotus went on to confirm that all of its future sports cars “will be pure electric and inspired by the Evija,” with the upcoming Emira set to be the last internal-combustion-engined sports car out of Hethel.