The next generation of Lotus sports cars are set share their engines and powertrains with Volvo. The Swedish company and its parent company intend to merge existing engine plants into a stand-alone business to “develop next generation combustion engines and hybrid powertrains”. That would mean all its brands, including Lotus, LEVC, Lynk & Co and Proton picking from a selection of engines and electrified options.
Besides the reveal of the electric Evija hypercar, a new engine line-up could be Geely’s first step to improving Lotus’ fortunes and turning them back into a world-beating sports car brand.
There’s no timescale to this (we’d expect further announcements in the next couple of years), nor is there any detail about which engines could be shared.
As you might expect, Geely is looking to develop more hybrid powertrains, so a petrol-electric powertrain for the next Lotus Elise can’t be ruled out - although there will be conventional combustion engines too. Out of Geely’s currently available engines, the combination of a 1.5-litre petrol engine, a 10.7kWh battery pack and an electric motor (a combination found in the Volvo XC40 T5 Twin Engine hybrid) looks the most likely.
In the XC40, that powertrain produces a 0-62mph time of around seven seconds, but the light kerbweight of Lotus models would result in a significantly faster car.
The latest generation of Elise uses a Toyota-sourced 1.8-litre engine hooked up to a supercharger. It’s a small displacement but the fanatical weight saving means 0-62mph is chalked off in just 4.2 seconds.
Both the Evora and the Exige also use a Toyota engine at the moment – a 3.5-litre V6 used elsewhere to lug the Camry around. It’s unclear how Geely’s new engine strategy will affect Lotus’ deal with the Japanese company.
The reveal of the bonkers Lotus Evija hypercar shows that Lotus is fully embracing electrification and alternative powertrains. Despite having 2000bhp and a skateboard of heavy batteries, the Evija somehow only weighs 1680kg, so the company isn’t totally giving up its lightweight philosophy. Even if the ‘simplify’ bit of its ethos is at odds with hybrid power and lithium-ion battery cells.
What do you think of Lotus going hybrid?