Lotus named ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ at prestigious News UK Motor Awards

Lotus named ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ at prestigious News UK Motor Awards

Lotus named ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ at prestigious News UK Motor Awards

“The future is bright for one of the world’s most iconic car brands” – the words of Rob Gill, Motors Editor at The Sun, as Lotus was honoured as ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ at the News UK Motor Awards 2021.

The prestigious award was presented by respected political journalist and Times Radio presenter John Pienaar at an exclusive ceremony, and collected on behalf of Lotus by Design Director Russell Carr.

The judges included a number of highly respected motoring writers and commentators. Together they felt Lotus was a worthy winner as it has… “continued to up its game in the last 12 months, making impressive additions to its range and pioneering exciting new product development”.

On behalf of the judges, Rob Gill commented:

“We are starting to see the first harvest from Geely’s huge investment in Lotus and, wow, the Evija and Emira are simply sensational. The Evija is the perfect blend of art and science, the Emira is a shrink-wrapped supercar, and the transformation of the historic Hethel HQ will warm the heart of every true car fan.”

He concluded: “The workforce has doubled to 1,700 people, Delia Smith is running the kitchen, and the famous old fountains have been switched back on again. The future is bright for one of the world’s most iconic car brands.”

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus, said:

“This is a massive honour for Lotus, and a tribute to everyone working tirelessly at our facilities all round the world to transform our business and brand. That transformation got underway with the launch of the world’s first British electric hypercar – the Evija – and was followed by its younger sibling – the Emira – revealed in July to a reception that’s been nothing less than sensational. Things are moving fast at Lotus, so watch this space – there is so much more to come.”

Collecting the award, Russell Carr commented:

“Rob Gill’s reaction when he visited Hethel recently suggested we are doing something right – he seemed very impressed with all we have achieved, from the new design language on our cars to the refurbishment of the site. I didn’t expect it to lead to this wonderful award, but we’re very honoured and proud that all the hard work and achievements of Lotus in the last couple of years have been recognised in this way.”

The Motor Awards is in its fourth year and brings together the collective expertise and audiences of The Times, The Sunday Times, The Sun, Driving.co.uk and talkSPORT. Rob Walsh, Automotive Director, News UK, commented: “Motors is a cherished subject here at News UK, a love shared by our editorial teams and our readers and listeners. The ambition is therefore to celebrate motoring best in class and support the automotive industry during challenging economic times.”

Lotus confirms full specification and price of all-new Emira V6 First Edition

Lotus confirms full specification and price of all-new Emira V6 First Edition

Lotus confirms full specification and price of all-new Emira V6 First Edition

Lotus has confirmed the price and full specification of the all-new Emira V6 First Edition. The car, fully loaded with a host of desirable technology, infotainment and comfort features plus unique badging, costs £75,995.

The price in major European markets has also been released, including in Germany where the car is €95,995. Prices in other international markets, including USA and China, will be released in the coming weeks. Production of the Emira V6 First Edition will start in the spring, with the ‘i4’ four-cylinder First Edition arriving in the autumn.

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “The Emira is the most accomplished Lotus we’ve ever made, and to celebrate and reward our keenest early customers, we want to make the first cars extra special to own. The features have been carefully selected by our design team to make for a truly special and distinct First Edition.”

The Emira is an all-new mid-engine premium sports car that perfectly embodies the ongoing transformation of the Lotus business and brand. It features all the hallmarks that the automotive world has come to expect from a Lotus – striking design, thrilling dynamic performance delivering best-in-class ride and handling, outstanding aerodynamics and an unrivalled experience ‘For The Drivers’.

Building on the legacy of the Elise, Exige and Evora, the Emira represents a quantum leap forward for Lotus. Those instantly recognisable brand signatures and core values have been combined with a paradigm shift in levels of practicality, comfort, functionality and technology. The Emira has been developed on a new lightweight bonded aluminium chassis – technology pioneered by Lotus and which remains an intrinsic part of the company’s sports car DNA.

Powering the V6 First Edition is the much-loved and Lotus-honed 3.5-litre supercharged V6 engine, mid-mounted behind the two seats. Developing 400hp, it’s mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with a visible gearchange mechanism and hydraulic power-assisted steering.

The car rides on 20-inch ultra-lightweight V-spoke forged alloy wheels. They’re diamond cut to create a premium two-tone finish, though silver or gloss black versions are available as a no-cost option. Two-piece brake discs with branded calipers are part of the First Edition spec, plus a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

The First Edition comes in one of six vibrant paint colours: Seneca Blue – which was seen at the car’s launch in July – plus Magma Red, Hethel Yellow, Dark Verdant, Shadow Grey and Nimbus Grey. More colours will be available during 2022.

Exterior details include LED lights all round, a titanium exhaust finisher, heated power-fold door mirrors and rear parking sensors. The Lower Black Pack is fitted as standard, which means the front bumper air blades, front splitter, side sills and rear diffuser are all in finished in gloss black.

There are seven interior colour choices, all available at no extra cost. They are red, black, grey and tan Nappa leather, as well as black Alcantara with either red, yellow or grey stitching. Satin chrome trim finishers, white interior mood lighting and Lotus-branded sill kick plates complete the premium look.

The heated seats feature 12-way adjustability and two memory presets linked to the door mirrors (driver’s seat only). Climate control, cruise control, keyless start and selectable drive modes are all included.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and satellite navigation (in selected markets) are integrated into the Emira V6 First Edition, supported by Bluetooth and USB/12v sockets. The 10-channel/340W premium audio system has been developed in partnership with respected British brand KEF and includes DAB digital radio. All functions are accessed through a 10.25-inch centrally mounted touch-screen, with driver feedback through a 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster ahead of the multi-function steering wheel.

Three more option packs are fitted as standard to the car, making four in total. The Drivers Pack gives customer the choice of Tour or Sport suspension with Goodyear Eagle F1 Supersport tyres, or Sport suspension with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres.

The Design Pack adds privacy glass, sports pedals, a black Alcantara headliner, and the choice of black, red, yellow or silver painted brake callipers. Lotus-branded footwell mats are also included. The Convenience Pack adds front parking sensors, rear reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers with aero blades, auto-dimming mirrors and a rear luggage storage net.

Options available at extra cost include a six-speed automatic gearbox with paddle shift (£1,800 / €2,600 in Germany); and the Black Pack, which colours the roof, cantrails, mirror backs, rear Lotus badge and exhaust finisher (£1,200 / €1,370 in Germany).

Production of the Lotus Emira V6 First Edition will start in the spring, with the ‘i4’ four-cylinder First Edition arriving later in the autumn. An entry level Emira – priced from £59,995 – will be available during 2023.

An updated version of the Emira First Edition configurator is now live at www.lotuscars.com, allowing customers to fully spec their car. Images taken from the configurator accompany this news release.

From the road to the racetrack: resurgent Lotus motorsport division expands global commitment with Emira GT4 race car

From the road to the racetrack: resurgent Lotus motorsport division expands global commitment with Emira GT4 race car

From the road to the racetrack: resurgent Lotus motorsport division expands global commitment with Emira GT4 race car

Lotus, one of the most famous names in world motorsport, has revealed an all-new competition-spec GT4 challenger and at its core is the critically acclaimed Emira sports car.

The culmination of more than 70 years of innovation on the road and track, it marks the start of an exciting new era in performance GT racing for Lotus.

Developed in collaboration with project partner RML Group, the race-ready concept is yet another milestone in the transformation which is taking place in every area of the Lotus business and brand.

Following the July launch of the Lotus Emira and its dynamic debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed, Lotus and RML Group are committed to writing a successful new chapter in the legendary Lotus motorsport story.

Most recently, that has been via the Evora GT4, which won prestigious races and championships including in British GT, Dubai 24hrs, Barcelona 24hrs, European GT, Sepang 12hrs and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Almost all modern Lotus road cars have had race-ready siblings and the Emira is no exception. Each customer car will be a homologated performance machine, hand-built with lightweight motorsport components and equipment to meet the latest safety regulations.

The Hethel-based development team has focused on precision engineering to deliver outstanding dynamics and high-speed stability. The advanced composite bodywork makes the car exceptionally lightweight and, coupled with Toyota’s race-proven 3.5-litre V6 engine and optimised GT4 aerodynamics derived from the road-going Emira’s advanced exterior design, the Emira GT4 promises to be more than competitive.

Richard Selwin, Race Programme Manager, Lotus, commented:

The all-new Emira GT4 is an exciting next step following the hugely successful launch of the Emira road car. We have worked hard with the team at RML Group to ensure this next-generation of Lotus GT car will deliver race-winning performance.

Simon Holloway, Commercial Director, RML Group, commented:

We are delighted to be collaborating with Lotus on the all-new Emira GT4 Concept. Both companies have a long and successful motorsport pedigree, and to bring that together at such an exciting time for Lotus is a welcome validation of our vision and values.

Gavan Kershaw, today the Director of Vehicle Attributes for Lotus but previously a GT championship-winning driver of Lotus race cars, has been involved in the development of the Emira GT4 from the start. He commented:

The all-new chassis on which the Emira has been developed is the perfect starting point for a high-performance race car. Everyone at Lotus is so excited to be returning to world motorsport and to be doing so with such a competitive race car.

Lotus has been synonymous with racing success ever since the Mark I, a trials car hand-built by founder Colin Chapman in 1948, and the company has pioneered many of the technical innovations which make racing the thrilling sport it is today. The impressive roll-call of honours includes seven Formula 1 Constructors’ titles, six Drivers’ Championships and the Indianapolis 500.

The return to world motorsport is a key pillar of the company’s transformation. Earlier this year Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business, became technical partner to JBXE, the Extreme E race team led by F1 world champion Jenson Button.

The Lotus Emira GT4 will be officially launched later this year at an event on the Hethel test track, the iconic 2.2-mile circuit which has hosted the development of some of the world’s most famous race cars.

Lotus aims to build a limited number of Emira GT4 race cars for the 2022 season, increasing production for 2023 in line with global demand. Interested parties are invited to contact the Lotus motorsport department directly via motorsport@lotuscars.com

All-new Lotus Emira pre-production commences following £100million investment in UK facilities

All-new Lotus Emira pre-production commences following £100million investment in UK facilities

All-new Lotus Emira pre-production commences following £100million investment in UK facilities

Another milestone in Lotus’ Vision80 journey is reached as Emira pre-production gets underway and further details of the substantial investments made in UK operations are revealed.

Total investment in UK facilities now stands at more than £100 million, which includes two new production halls at the company’s iconic home in Hethel, Norfolk. One is now in pre-production for the Emira, the all-new Lotus sports car to be unveiled at Hethel on Tuesday 6 July. The other, for the Evija all-electric hypercar, has completed prototype production and first customer cars will be built later this year.

Hethel – the Lotus Advanced Performance Centre – has also benefitted from an all-new high tech automated paint shop, a retail design studio to highlight the new visual identity for the business’s expanding retail network and a new on-site restaurant. This follows investment made last year to upgrade the legendary Lotus test track and equip engineering workshops with equipment to further support electric vehicle development.

The workforce at Lotus’ Norfolk sites at Hethel and Norwich has almost doubled since October 2017 when Geely became the majority shareholder. With the launch of Emira, Lotus is creating more than 200 new operations roles and recruitment is now under way.

Additional investment has been made at Lotus’ other UK sites, including all-new facilities in nearby Norwich, and in the Midlands in partnership with the University of Warwick.

Every pound spent has been with the clear target of further enhancing the technology, quality, efficiency and sustainability behind production of Lotus cars and the services offered by Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business.

Details of the investment by Lotus include:

Investment in Sports Car Operations, Hethel (all-new factory for Emira production)

All-new paint shop: This state-of-the art facility supports robotised paint application, a first for Lotus in more than seven decades of car manufacture that will improve quality and through-put of vehicles. It also features other innovative technologies, such as a combined primer and clearcoat line. The system is highly efficient; dry filtration uses 60% less energy than a wet system, while an electrostatic primer on body panels will reduce paint usage by 30-40%. Installation is almost complete and the facility has been locked down during May while deep cleaning takes place. ‘Dry’ commissioning will commence shortly so the physical systems – eg, conveyors, transfers, lifts, ovens – can be tested. ‘Wet’ commissioning will follow later in the summer.

All-new framing line: Now operational, the framing line is building car bodies as part of Emira pre-production, with robots applying bonding agent to the sides, roof and cantrails.

All-new Automatically Guided Vehicles (AGVs): AGVs allow for the highly efficient movement of cars in build on set routes around the factory, allowing operations colleagues to focus on assembling the vehicles. Routes are easily reprogrammed, creating a flexible and future-proof approach to Lotus sports car manufacturing. Each AGV has a height adjustment system so operators can position the car on it at exactly the right ergonomic height for them.

All-new main assembly hall: The centrepiece of Hethel’s upgrades is the most visible, adjacent to Potash Lane and obvious to anyone visiting the factory. The all-new 12,000m2 main assembly hall is the size of 1.5 football pitches, with a glass-walled mezzanine operations deck above. All station gantries have now been installed. Wheel Alignment and Headlamp Aim (WAHA) equipment, a Vehicle Configuration and Test System (VCaTS), monsoon water test booth, rolling road and fuel fill area are all installed and will be commissioned by the end of June.

The entire Sports Car Operations production facility is powered by 100% renewable electricity thanks to a partnership with energy supplied Centrica.

David Hewitt, Executive Director, Operations, Lotus, said:

The move to a part-robotised production is the right one for Lotus as we launch the Emira. Everything is about repeatability and efficiency to drive quality. Our workforce is incredibly skilled, and robots help them to deliver the consistency we need at the volume we need it.

David added:

Our cars will remain ‘Handmade in Hethel’, though our people will be supported by new processes and technologies that will only enhance efficiency and build quality. It is a ‘best of both worlds’ solution.

There is further investment at Hethel in the Evija production hall, where the project team is ramping up work as the car moves towards full production later this year. In addition, Hethel now has an all-new restaurant for both Lotus colleagues working on site and any visitors. Lotus has partnered with another iconic Norfolk name – TV chef and author Delia Smith – to provide a high-quality and value-for-money catering service.

One end of the restaurant building is now home to the Lotus Retail Design Studio, showcasing the company’s new visual identity for showrooms. This is now being rolled out in Lotus retail outlets around the world.

Investment at Lotus Advanced Structures (LAS), Norwich

All-new fabrication facility: Announced in July 2020, LAS is Lotus’ new fabrication facility in Norwich, just a few miles from Hethel. Consolidating chassis assembly from Lotus Lightweight Structures in Worcester with subframe and fuel tank assembly from another facility in Norwich, relocating both into LAS will increase efficiency and dramatically reduce logistics costs and transport emissions.

The chassis and front-end assembly line, including robot bonding agent application, is now operational at LAS, supplying components for the pre-production of Emira. Eight new CNC milling machines are being installed, plus four more transported from Worcester. A new laser cutting machine is being commissioned to manufacture fuel tanks, rear subframes and many of the steel and aluminium components used on the vehicle.

All-new Lotus Learning Academy: The launch of the Emira is creating more than 200 new operations roles at Lotus and recruitment is now under way. These colleagues are among the first to pass through the all-new Lotus Learning Academy, which is based at LAS.

Investment at Lotus Advanced Technology Centre (LATC)

Investment has taken place at LATC, an engineering base for the business in the UK’s Midlands. The region is a focal point for automotive and engineering performance innovation, and so is the perfect location for Lotus’ high voltage development and testing centre. It’s also the ideal home for the Lotus Engineering consultancy. Announced in July 2020, LATC is on the Wellesbourne campus of the University of Warwick.

The investment in Lotus’ UK facilities dates back to 2018, the year majority shareholder Geely and minority shareholder Etika approved Vision80, the strategic plan for the transformation of Lotus ahead of its 80th birthday in 2028.

Lotus Type 131 – the all-new sports car is named EMIRA

Lotus Type 131 – the all-new sports car is named EMIRA

Lotus Type 131 – the all-new sports car is named EMIRA

Lotus has today confirmed the name of its eagerly anticipated all-new sports car will be EMIRA.

The news was confirmed during the Driving Tomorrow global digital conference broadcast. To date it has been known only by its codename, the Lotus Type 131.

The name had been teased by Lotus in a film on social media in recent days. It was ‘hidden in plain sight’ as part of a pattern of dots and dashes designed into the central line on a road. Those with knowledge of Morse Code could have spotted that it spelled Emira. Today, 27 April, is the anniversary of the birthday of Samuel Morse, inventor of Morse Code.

Pronounced ‘E-meer-a’, the word features in numerous ancient languages and often translates as ‘commander’ or ‘leader’. It’s highly appropriate as this is the exciting new sports car leading Lotus on a journey to a thrilling new future.

The Emira will be unveiled on Tuesday 6 July at Hethel, Norfolk – where the Emira will be built – and will make its public dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 8-11 July.

Lotus has also confirmed that, contrary to media speculation, the car will not be a hybrid. The Emira will be powered by a choice of internal combustion engines – the last time Lotus will launch an ICE car – with an exciting new powertrain partnership. The additional powertrain option will be new to Lotus, highly efficient, use cutting edge technology and be tuned to help deliver that distinctive Lotus experience.

With a distinctive new sports car design influenced by the Lotus Evija hypercar, Emira marks the acceleration of the brand’s product-led offensive into a new era of contemporary design, highly efficient powertrains, and everyday usability coupled with explosive performance. 

Speaking about the Emira, Matt Windle said:

It’s the most accomplished Lotus for generations – the perfectly packaged, powered and formed sports car. Beautifully proportioned, shrink-wrapped, but with comfort, technology and ergonomics built in. With a design inspired by the Evija all-electric hypercar, it’s a game-changing Lotus sports car.

More details on the Lotus Emira will follow in July when the car is revealed.

Lotus Engineering consultancy going from strength to strength

Lotus Engineering consultancy going from strength to strength

Lotus Engineering consultancy going from strength to strength

Lotus Engineering, the consultancy side of the Lotus business, is going from strength to strength under the company’s Vision80 transformation strategy.

Key to its rebirth as a force in global automotive engineering has been its ongoing transition to a new home. Announced last year, the Lotus Advanced Technology Centre (LATC) is on the Wellesbourne campus of the University of Warwick. The UK’s Midlands region is a focal point for automotive and engineering innovation, and is the perfect location for Lotus’ high voltage development and testing centre. That makes it the ideal home of the Lotus Engineering consultancy.

As part of the Driving Tomorrow global digital conference, Lotus Engineering has released a new architect’s animation what LATC will be like when complete. More than 100 employees will be based there initially, with capacity for another 200 when the facility’s development is complete.

Client confidentiality is at the heart of its work, though details of a number of high-profile partnership projects are in the public domain. These include:

  • JBXE: Lotus Engineering is technical partner to JBXE, the Extreme E race team launched by former F1 world champion Jenson Button. The team will benefit from Lotus Engineering’s expertise and motorsport experience.
  • British Cycling: An innovative aerodynamic profile for the new track bike to be ridden by Team GB athletes at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics. The work has been led by Lotus Engineering.
  • Project LEVA: Short for Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture, Project LEVA is a collaboration led by Lotus Engineering that is targeting the acceleration of and innovation behind new lightweight structures for next-generation battery electric vehicles.
  • Project BattCon: Lotus Engineering has launched a pilot containerised battery testing facility to assess energy storage solutions for the booming EV sector. It means the consultancy can carry out various battery cell, module and pack characterisation tests, performance evaluations, and component and lifetime testing under controlled conditions for its clients.

Uday Senapati, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy and Product Management, Lotus, said:

Lotus Engineering has partnered with some of the best-known companies and created numerous iconic products. These projects are an excellent calling card for the skills, resources and experience of our consultancy – bringing in new partnerships from all around the world, be they OEM, start-ups or special commissions. Such partnerships continue to play a vital role in the journey of Lotus Engineering.

Further growth for Lotus Engineering is being driven by access to the four new Lotus structural architectures. Working collaboratively with colleagues in Europe and China, Lotus engineers have developed a dedicated family of structural platforms for the brand. Exclusive to Lotus within the Geely group, they are available to other OEMs through the Lotus Engineering consultancy.

  • Sports car architecture: Referred to internally as the Elemental architecture, this is the platform on which the all-new Lotus Emira will be built. Flexible, lightweight and featuring the signature Lotus extruded aluminium technology, this sports car platform is a massive step-change technically.
  • Hypercar architecture: The Lotus Evija is the first vehicle to be built on this Extreme platform and goes into production later this year at Hethel.
  • Premium architecture: The first ever truly global automotive architecture from Lotus, the Evolution platform will be the basis for an all-new range of lifestyle vehicles from the company. The architecture has been defined and designed in the UK, supported by collaborative work with teams in China, Sweden and Germany. It is ‘born British, raised globally’.
  • Electric sports car architecture: The Lotus Engineering consultancy is leading development work on a new vehicle platform – known internally as E-Sports – and from that will come new products for Lotus and Alpine. However, it is also commercially available for other OEMs to use.

A new technical roadmap for Lotus will also help guide the work of consultancy. Dubbed EAS-IP – it recognises that demand for technology is a fact of today’s automotive landscape.

  • Electrify: A pure electric future for Lotus, as first demonstrated by the Evija hypercar, has been part of the Vision80 strategy from the start. After the Type 131 product line, every new Lotus car will be electric.
  • Amplify: Lotus is committed to delivering innovative and engaging technologies. It will dial up the importance and prevalence of technology in its new product range. In tandem with the famed Lotus DNA ‘For The Drivers’ , this will drive the desirability of future models.
  • Simplify: It was Lotus founder Colin Chapman who famously said the key to performance was to ‘simplify and add lightness’. Nothing has changed. Lotus technology will be an enabler, and will simplify the driving and ownership experience for customers.
  • Intensify: Lotus is fast developing a reputation as a world leader in Human Machine Interface (HMI), User Interface (UI), and User Experience (UX). With every new product launch, the role of innovative new technology will be intensified.
  • Personify: Lotus will use technology to give its new models an identity, a brand character that will become part of the company’s DNA. Lotus cars will be customisable through technology, mirroring and adapting to each customer’s tastes.

Richard Moore, Executive Director, Engineering, Group Lotus, said:

This is a hugely exciting time for Lotus Engineering. News of the transformation of Lotus is  common knowledge across the automotive world, and the consultancy is in great demand from clients eager to tap into the passion, expertise and commitment which has run through this consultancy for more than 40 years.