As the Evija hypercar programme approaches the final straight before entering production, the Lotus testing team and Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, give their impressions on EP1 – one of several prototypes and the most developed in terms of performance attributes.
“We have different prototypes focusing on different areas of development. One for build and tech, another for battery management, the other for motors and so on. EP1, which I have driven most recently, is the performance prototype and it does not disappoint. We are still some months from entering series production, but already EP1 has that unmistakable Lotus ‘feel’. Unquestionably a unique and extreme hypercar, but still, somehow, a Lotus. I’m so excited and extremely proud of what the team has achieved.”
“We’re 80% there – in terms of power, in terms of batteries, motors, body. Now, the remaining 20% is about adding the magic, for everything to work in harmony in that unique Lotus way, to deliver the driving experience that we want and that we can be super-proud of. And by proud, I of course mean, mind-blowing. It is a hypercar.” – Gavan Kershaw, Director of Product Attributes and Lotus’ legendary chief test driver.
James Hazlehurst, Lead Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, added: “As we enter the final straight of the development programme and start to unleash full power and torque, we are fast-completing the base vehicle dynamics and turning on the active systems one by one – torque vectoring, active aero, traction control and so on – to confirm everything behaves and works together as expected. Then we start to tune the drive modes, delivering the distinctive characteristics for each of the settings. We’ve been doing some of this virtually, working with a simulator partner, and now, as the world is beginning to slowly open up, we’re able to put these learnings into practice in the physical world.”
Louis Kerr, Chief Platform Engineer “We’re lucky in that we have our very own 2.25-mile test track, FIA compliant, literally 50 yards from where I’m sat in the all-new Evija assembly hall. I’m not sure many other manufacturers in the world can say that. The car has been designed without any constraints. We have pushed the boundaries of technology and materials at every opportunity, used the best technical partners, applied the latest technology – some of which is only currently available on a Formula One car – and on top of all that we have the most power-dense powertrain in a car. Already it is the fastest road car around the Hethel track, and some legendary cars and drivers have been setting records around here for many years. We’re already going quicker than expected, and in addition we’re looking to exceed the targets we’ve set ourselves on the project in terms of power and torque capacities to absolutely maximise the performance envelope of the car.”
Concluding, Gavan Kershaw said: “The Evija is an absolutely phenomenal drive. It has Formula One accelerations but in a closed cockpit, so it’s like a little Group C racer but with the torque and instant delivery of all the power, all the torque and the very latest toolbox of electronic aids. You genuinely start to believe you can defy physics – it fires you around corners like a catapult.”