It’s no secret that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already forced an end to new petrol and diesel vehicle sales by 2030. British legends Lotus have risen to the challenge by launching their own concept of what their version of a race car by 2030 could look like …
It’s been a banner start to the year for Lotus, the all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar has been recognised in the prestigious International Design Awards (IDAs), winning the ‘Product Design of the Year’ category.
Why does this award mean so much?
Established in 2007 by a group of leading international designers, visionaries and entrepreneurs as a response to a lack of pure design awards in their field, the IDAs have a truly global profile. They celebrate smart and sustainable multi-disciplinary designs, promoting outstanding creativity while uncovering emerging talent.
The award was presented to Lotus after being selected by a panel jury representing each of the five diverse IDA disciplines – Architecture, Fashion, Interior, Product and Graphic Design. The jurors evaluated entries from more than 80 countries, each exhibiting the highest standards of design. The Evija was honoured for its breathtaking ability to stretch boundaries of automotive design.
Members of the IDA jury commented that the Lotus Evija ‘paves a way towards a more sustainable future whilst embodying an exceptional aerodynamic aesthetic’, and that ‘its seductive style elevates the Evija to be the world’s most premium sustainable car’.
Given its fierce competition in the EV marketplace, this success is no mean feat and we can be sure that they’ll have to fight against the likes of Porsche to hold onto it for next year.
The Lotus Evija was built with a simple goal – to be the absolute pinnacle of world-class engineering and the most powerful performance car ‘For The Drivers’. It harnesses Lotus’ technical expertise, fine-tuned over more than seven decades, to create a masterclass of automotive excellence.
Russell Carr, Director of Design, Lotus, said: ‘Everyone at Lotus is honoured to receive this award. The Evija is an incredibly important car for Lotus; it is inspired by our innovative past and is the ultimate statement of intent for our ambitious and exciting future. It also sets the standard for a new Lotus design language.’
To celebrate the IDA award, Lotus has released a set of new drool worthy images of the Lotus Evija. Shot on the streets of London prior to the current UK lockdown restrictions, they reveal every facet of the hypercar’s stunning design.
However, that’s not all … Lotus has unveiled the E-R9, a dramatic new design study for a next-generation pure electric endurance racer that could be on the starting grid of circuits around the world for the 2030 season.
Finished in striking black and gold – a clear nod to Lotus’ pioneering motorsport heritage that led to 13 Formula 1 championship titles – the EV features a sleek fighter jet-style canopy centrally mounted in a delta-wing upper body. Innovations include advanced active aerodynamics with ‘morphing’ body panels and vertically mounted control surfaces to assist with high-speed cornering.
The E-R9 has been developed by Lotus Engineering, the globally renowned consultancy division of the business which delivers projects for external clients. The car has been created as a technology showcase of its philosophy, capability and innovative spirit in the fields of advanced electrified powertrains and aerodynamics.
E-R stands for Endurance Racer, while 9 is the car’s competition number carefully chosen in tribute to Lotus’ racing past. It was in a Lotus Mark IX that the race team made its debut appearance at the Le Mans 24 Hours, with company founder Colin Chapman among the drivers competing. The year was 1955, meaning the E-R9 race car concept – if raced in 2030 – would be in celebration of the Mark IX’s 75th anniversary.
The E-R9 was developed by the engineering team of Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist at Lotus, and Louis Kerr, principal platform engineer on the Lotus Evija pure electric hypercar as well as technical director, GT, Geely Group Motorsports International. Visually it was brought to life by the Lotus Design team, led by Russell Carr, Design Director for Lotus.
Richard Hill commented: ‘What we’ve tried to do is to push the boundaries of where we are technically today and extrapolate into the future. The Lotus E-R9 incorporates technologies which we fully expect to develop and be practical. Lotus has an amazing history of developing unique solutions, and we’ve done it many times in motorsport and with our road cars.’
Chief among the car’s aero innovations are its ‘morphing’ body panels. Located across the delta-wing profile, this adaptability – where active surfaces can change their shape and attitude to the air flow either at the press of a button by the driver or automatically according to performance sensor inputs – would deliver minimum drag on the straights and maximum downforce in the corners. Vertical control surfaces at the rear would generate aerodynamic forces to help the car change direction, without the limitations of grip at the tyre contact patch. The result is a racer that’s partly driven like a car and partly flown like a fighter jet. Pause for a moment and just take that in … desperate to trial it? Yep, I’m with you there.
The Lotus E-R9 features an advanced electric drivetrain powering each wheel independently, a system enhanced with torque-vectoring. It builds on technology already integrated on the Lotus Evija pure electric hypercar, though for the E-R9 would be fully adjustable by the driver on the move.
Louis Kerr commented: ‘Battery energy density and power density are developing significantly year on year. Before 2030, we’ll have mixed cell chemistry batteries that give the best of both worlds, as well as the ability to ‘hot-swap’ batteries during pitstops.’