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Radical EV ownership plan from Lotus

"Net-zero carbon across Lotus operations" is the plan formulated with Centrica - here's how they want to do it

By Matt Bird / Monday, May 11, 2020

There's nothing to jolt you from the Bank Holiday slumber like some important car news, and this promises to be more important than most. Lotus is working with Centrica, the parent company of British Gas, to "develop a new model for electric vehicle ownership that fully integrates future mobility and energy."

Which would look ambitious for anyone, leave alone a company still using supercharged engines near-exclusively in its line-up. But the Lotus of the 2020s is poised to look rather different to the Lotus of the 2010s, or indeed any decade before. As part of Vision80 - a Lotus product strategy leading into 2028, the year that marks 80 years of business - the company aims to be, according to CEO Phil Popham, a "truly global player in the high-performance, high-technology sector." As well as still being 'For The Drivers', of course. Therefore, a top-down overhaul of how vehicles, homes and customers obtain, use and redistribute their power makes a lot of sense.

How will they do it? 'Connectivity' is a key word, it'll be no surprise to learn, with smart devices communicating with each other on energy usage and demand. A Lotus fits into this by "making the car extension of the home", meaning that it can store electricity as well as make money by helping out the energy market. Not so long ago this would arguably have been dismissed as a little pie-in-the-sky, but given the advances in smart technology and the fact that we live in a world where the Tesla Model 3 is Britain's best-selling car - as well as the change in Hethel's fortunes with an EV pioneer investing so much - and it all fits together nicely. The overall aim through connecting consumer and car more closely, bold as it will sound, is to "redefine the customer relationship with cars - one controlled by smart devices at home and on the move."

The Evija will be Lotus' first foray into the world of electric cars, though this Centrica alliance extends beyond the customer experience; the whole of the company is aiming for net-zero carbon. It's claimed that the environmental impact "of everything from manufacturing through to sales and the day-to-day activities of Lotus employees" will be reduced. It's a huge undertaking, by the sounds of it.

While the press release features an assortment of worthy and encouraging soundbites at its end, the really interesting bit is what the strategic partnership aims to achieve just below. Alongside a 'Lotus EV Energy strategy' and charging infrastructure for its customers - to be expected, really - there's also the decarbonisation strategy for the global business and the promise of a "breakthrough new energy product and platform integrating connected vehicles, home and customers to support the growth in digital mobility lifestyle." In a Lotus press release! There's an awful lot more to the Evija's arrival than just a new flagship, then - production is set to begin, along with a whole new era for Lotus, later in 2020.

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