Despite all the progress made with electric cars over recent years - the G-Wiz was made until 2012 - there's an issue that still blights all of them: weight. A Honda e has the dimensions of a Rubik's Cube and weighs 1,500kg, the VW ID.3 is a Golf-sized EV that tips the scales at almost 1.8 tonnes and a Porsche Taycan can be anything up to 2,300kg. What's needed, really, is a company known for producing lightweight automotive architecture to turn its hand to EV platforms...
Which is exactly what's going to happen, with Lotus having been awarded a Government grant to develop the next generation of battery electric vehicle architecture. With cars as heavy and as complex as they've ever been, adding lightness must be as valid an adage as ever before. We know dropping batteries very low and very centrally in an EV helps disguise the dynamic impact of all that weight; imagine how well they'd drive with hundreds of kilos saved.
Lotus won the bid from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy thanks to its 'LEVA' plan. That stands for Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture, an acronym we can expect to hear plenty more of in the near future. Its professed aim is "targeting the acceleration of and innovation behind new lightweight structures for next generation BEVs". Lotus will work with Sarginsons Industries and Brunel University on the project.
This announcement of course comes at a perfect time for Lotus, with excitement around the Evija hypercar perhaps tailing off a tad given the unfortunate Covid-related delays. It's a reminder that Lotus aims very much to be at the forefront of the technology revolution that's coming. Matt Windle, Executive Director of Engineering up in Hethel, said that the news "is a key building block in your vision to deliver a full range of electric Lotus performance cars... Funding of this nature is critical to stimulate the automotive industry and supply chain as both continue to adjust to a rapidly changing landscape." We're told to expect more details from Lotus, Sarginsons and Brunel in due course; hopefully that leap in battery technology isn't far off.
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