Lotus is working on an SUV. Yes, the company famous for lightweight sports cars is expanding into vehicles normally found at the grocery store instead of at the track. The move is necessary to boost Lotus' financial health, and the profits generated should lead to new and better sports cars.
The new SUV, code-named Lambda, is due for a reveal in 2022, and Autocar reported Monday that it is coming exclusively with battery-electric power. The news isn't much of a surprise as Lotus, under the stewardship of new owner Geely, has made it clear that electric powertrains are the future for the brand.
Lotus was previously thought to be planning both hybrid and battery-electric versions of the SUV. According to Autocar, the growing popularity of EVs, especially in China where 1.2 million were sold in 2019 alone, has persuaded Lotus to ditch plans for the hybrid.
China is expected to be the biggest market for the SUV whose production will also take place in China, most likely in Wuhan of all places. Production will still be limited. Lotus estimates sales to rise to around 5,000 annually following the arrival of the SUV, up from about 1,500 today.
The platform for the SUV will be Geely's recently revealed SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) platform, a dedicated EV platform that will also spawn models at fellow Geely brands Lynk & Co., Polestar, Proton and Volvo. The platform can deliver a range of over 400 miles, according to Geely, and there's the potential to expand this as battery technology improves.
For the Lotus SUV, engineers will fit electric drive units at both axles. Autocar reported that there will be at least two setups, one generating 600 horsepower and another as much as 750 hp.
Should the SUV prove popular, we may even see a second from the brand. It's worked for Porsche, after all.
But before any high-riding Lotus arrives, Lotus is expected to renew its Elise and launch a hybrid supercar positioned to fill the gap between the Evora and Evija.