Lotus Evija electric hypercar is now one step closer to reality

It seems unlikely that a small company that hasn’t launched a new car in over a decade could engineer an electric hypercar with world-beating performance figures. But the Lotus Evija is real, or at least able to move under its own power. Lotus released a video showing a working prototype undergoing testing. The Evija is supposed to start production in 2020.

The Evija (pronounced “e-vi-ya”) was unveiled in July 2019, giving Lotus a tight deadline to get it into production. Lotus plans to conduct extensive testing both at its home base in Hethel, England, and at racetracks around Europe. Multiple prototypes “will cover many thousands of miles and many hundreds of hours of driving assessment, including on public roads,” a Lotus press release said. The car in the video is the second Evija prototype, according to Lotus.

Lotus has set some pretty ambitious targets for the Evija. Power output is pegged at 1,973 horsepower and 1,250 pound-feet of torque. That’s provided by four electric motors — one for each wheel. This arrangement also gives the Evija all-wheel drive and torque-vectoring capability. A radical design that includes tunnels running through the bodywork should create massive amounts of downforce — helping to stick the Evija to the pavement and make the most of that power.

The Evija will do 0 to 62 mph in under 3.0 seconds, reach 186 mph from a standstill in 9.0 seconds, and boast a top speed of over 200 mph, according to Lotus. Those are impressive numbers for any car — gasoline or electric — but Lotus will still have plenty of competition.

The second-generation Tesla Roadster has a claimed zero to 60 mph time of 1.9 seconds, while Rimac claims its Concept Two will do zero to 60 mph in 1.8 seconds. The Aspark Owl has a claimed 2,012 hp, a top speed of 248 mph, and a claimed zero to 60 mph time of 1.69 seconds. That would make this Japanese hypercar the quickest accelerating car in production. However, none of these cars have reached customers yet. The current benchmark is the Nio EP9, which had a limited production run of 16 units. The EP9 has 1,342 hp, and briefly held the production car lap record at the Nürburgring.

Lotus has been around much longer than its rivals, but the Evija is still as improbable as an electric car from a newly minted startup. While Lotus has built some of the greatest sports cars and race cars in history, and can claim numerous technical innovations, the company has stagnated recently. The current Evora, Exige, and Elise are ancient designs by auto industry standards. It’s a big leap from building those dated models to launching the cutting edge Evija.

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