Lotus is to spin-off a pickup using the ubiquitous Elise platform. It's the company's first light commercial vehicle, which rolls off the production line today.
The Lotus Elise 'Load Lugga' is an Elise-derived flatbed that Lotus said "seeks to secure a slice of the ever-growing worldwide market for sportscar-derived pickup trucks."
Using a Briggs and Stratton pull-start diesel engine, uniquely supercharged by Lotus's own engineers, the Elise Load Lugga is the first Lotus to marry advanced four-wheel drive technology with the Lotus design philosophy of 'performance through light weight'. A useful 5kg payload, together with an optional towing hitch offering a further 10kg of load-hauling capacity, ensures the new Lotus will be equally at home carrying a small bag of sugar as an expanded polystyrene surfboard.
With carbon fibre roof rails and perforated aluminium bull bars ensuring the new Elise derivative looks the part without compromising performance, Lotus said that "hopes are high that 0-60mph acceleration is under three seconds, and will have flatbed fans reaching for their chequebooks."
An active payload management system, linked to the engine's oil pressure control module, optimises ride and handling round even the sharpest bend, while big chunky tyres increase ground clearance to an all-terrain-conquering four inches.
Commercial operations director Trevor Houghton-Berry said: "The Elise 'Load Lugga' is our first move into the lucrative LCV market and certainly lives up to the Lotus philosophy of 'change the rules'. We like trucking and we like to truck!"
US sales and marketing director Mark O'Shaughnessy said: "We can no longer ignore Lotus's big opportunity in the pickup market - we want a slice of the action and are gunning for a 0.0026% market share this year and 0.0027% next. The Elise 'Load Lugga' will be known as the F1.50 stateside and we are set to take the market by storm. 200 Lotus Elise F1.50's in the first year? Bring them on."