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New Lotus Type 135 sports car to replace Emira in 2027

The Lotus Emira is set to be replaced by a new electric sports car designed and developed in the UK

Lotus Type 135 – front

Lotus has confirmed its first electric sports car, currently codenamed Type 135, will be built at Hethel and will replace the petrol-engined Emira, which is scheduled to end production before 2027. 

Following the completion of its merger with L Catterton Asia Acquisition at the end of 2023 valuing the business at $5.5 billion, Lotus Technology is gearing up for its IPO via a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) on the NASDAQ in quarter one of 2024. Ahead of this Chief Commercial Officer, Mike Johnstone, outlined Lotus’  short to term product plans, which will be solely electric cars and built on two continents - China and Europe. 

Currently, petrol engined Emiras featuring the ageing Toyota V6 and Mercedes-AMG’s 2-litre four-cylinder engine – the latter of which has seen deliveries delayed until this summer – are built in the Chapman Production Centre at Hethel, which has benefited from £500 million of investment since Geely took a 51 per cent stake in the business in 2017. 

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With Lotus confirming that the Emira will be its last ICE car, Hethel has been earmarked to be the home of the new Type 135 sports car. Due to be revealed in 2025 with first deliveries scheduled for 2027, the battery powered car will be built at Hethel in the production hall currently occupied by the Emira. 

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Expected to cost from £70,000 the Type 135 will be the fourth battery electric vehicle in the Lotus line-up, with a new D-segment SUV set to be revealed this year and delivered to customers in 2026 joining the Emeya GT and Eletre SUV. With Eletre deliveries now underway (and making up the lion share of the 19,000 orders Lotus had at the end of September 2023), the first Emeyas will arrive with customers later this year. 

As with the Eletre and Emeya, the Type 134 – a BMW iX3-sized SUV – will be built in Wuhan under the Lotus Technology brand, while the Type 135 will join the Evija hypercar under the Lotus Cars umbrella and be built in Norfolk. While the UK team will lead the electric sportscar’s development, the company’s Frankfurt-based R&D division and Chinese technology arm will be instrumental in the model’s development. 

Talking of development, the Evija hypercar still is in development and is expected to be signed off and completed this year, ready for the 130 examples to be built with deliveries starting before 2025. 

Lotus has aspirations - and capacity - to produce 150,000 cars by 2028 in Wuhan, with Hethel adding in the region of 5,000 units to that total. Lotus plans to facilitate this growth by expanding its dealer network to over 320 ‘stores’ globally in the next 12 months. 

evo hopes to drive both the Eletre and Emeya within the next few months to bring you a flavour of what Lotus’ ambitious electrified future is like to drive.

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