Alpine and Lotus Announce Technical Collaboration

Alpine and Lotus Announce Technical Collaboration

Alpine and Lotus Announce Technical Collaboration

As part of the Alpine Business Unit development, Groupe Renault and Group Lotus have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to study a number of areas of cooperation, including the joint development of an EV sportscar.

The Alpine and Lotus teams will conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for the joint engineering, design and development of an EV sportscar by leveraging the resources, expertise and facilities of the respective entities in both France and the UK.

Alpine and Lotus will also explore the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise. A collaboration to leverage Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula One to Formula E and Endurance is also under study.

Laurent Rossi, CEO Alpine, said:

“The signing of this MoU with Lotus shows the lean and smart approach we’re implementing as part of the new Alpine brand strategy. Both brands have an amazing legacy and we are most excited to start this work together, from engineering tailored solutions to developing a next-generation EV sports car. This collaboration along with our transformation mark the beginning of a new era in which we’ll be taking the Alpine name and line-up to the future. We’re putting F1 at the heart of our business, leveraging our in-house expertise and best-in-class partners such as Lotus to inject our cars with leading-edge performance, technology and motorisation”.

Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, added:

“Today’s announcement is the first step in what is set to be a hugely rewarding collaboration between our iconic brands. We are proud to be working with Groupe Renault in this collaboration – sharing Lotus’ technical expertise and abilities, and leveraging our long track record of successful collaborations. Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sportscars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena. It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sportscar is hugely exciting for our companies, our fans and customers around the world. The joint-services element of our agreement will additionally make our engineering expertise available to those wishing to engage our innovations.”

Lotus Engineering launches new battery test facilities to support booming electric vehicle (EV) sector

Lotus Engineering launches new battery test facilities to support booming electric vehicle (EV) sector

Lotus Engineering launches new battery test facilities to support booming electric vehicle (EV) sector

Lotus Engineering is launching a pilot containerised battery testing facility to assess energy storage solutions for the booming EV sector.

It will allow Lotus Engineering to carry out various battery cell, module and pack characterisation tests, performance evaluations, and component and lifetime testing under controlled conditions. Early feasibility study support and validation of mature designs for implementation into new vehicles will also be available.

The project has been named BattCon, an abbreviation of Battery Containerised Test Facility. The ‘containers’ are individual walk-in laboratories and will be in operation at Lotus HQ in Hethel, Norfolk, as well as the new Lotus Advanced Technology Centre in Wellesbourne, West Midlands. Each is the size of a standard 40ft shipping container and so can easily be packed up and transported as a mobile testing unit, available to Lotus Engineering customers wherever they are. Lotus has three operational units as part of the pilot scheme.

For clients, Lotus Engineering will offer an EV safety-compliant workshop facility with specialist staff experienced in testing batteries. Companies new to the EV field, and those who would otherwise need to invest in additional test facilities, will have access to a fast, efficient and cost-effective solution to develop new technologies and speed up their route to market. For Lotus itself, the new technology will support ambitious plans to launch a new range of performance vehicles.

Lotus Engineering has a wealth of experience in the design and engineering of EVs and other alternative propulsion powertrains dating back two decades. While many of the programmes remain confidential, the consultancy’s work on the Tesla Roadster (2008-12) is the best-known example.

Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “As the race intensifies for automotive and other sectors to develop new and novel battery technologies, there will be increased demand for suitable testing facilities. Project BattCon begins to address this problem by evaluating how Lotus Engineering can meet the battery testing opportunities for the UK supply chain and OEMs.”

Services available include capacity determination, resistance mapping, current and power mapping, open circuit voltage determination and heat capacity. Lifetime testing is comprised of low-voltage cycling, high-voltage cycling, self-discharge determination, storage ageing, cycle ageing, drive cycle ageing and orientation. One of the three Lotus containers features an ambient chamber, the temperature of which can be raised or lowered to replicate climatic extremes around the world.

The pilot project will conclude in spring 2021 and is co-funded by the Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF), part of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC); Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation; the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Upon completion, the project will be evaluated and a decision taken about its future.

Lotus Engineering is the consultancy division of Lotus and provides a comprehensive range of technical services to many of the world’s best-known automotive manufacturers and suppliers. In 2020 it is celebrating 40 years since it was formally incorporated.

Lotus partners with the UK’s most creative photographers to celebrate MUSE Global Design award for Evija

Lotus partners with the UK’s most creative photographers to celebrate MUSE Global Design award for Evija

Lotus partners with the UK’s most creative photographers to celebrate MUSE Global Design award for Evija

Lotus is celebrating the all-electric Evija hypercar’s latest award win with a gallery of new images taken during a unique and inspiring collaboration with some of the UK’s most creative photographic talent.

The celebrations mark the results of the prestigious 2020 MUSE Global Design Awards, where the Lotus Evija took overall victory in the Automotive Transportation category.

The eight exclusive photoshoots took place in and around Duke of London, a former 1930s soap factory in West London transformed into a stunning motoring venue and tribute to all things automotive. Lotus invited each photographer to attend for one-on-one private access to the Evija, allowing them to choose how and where to shoot the hypercar – in their own style – in any location around the site. The results are now available at their respective Instagram feeds.

Those invited to attend were:

Alex Carmichael commented: “A huge thanks to Lotus for giving me the opportunity to spend time with the Evija. It’s not every day you get the chance to photograph the next generation of electric hypercars. I hope my photos do the car justice, and I’m looking forward to the next steps in its development before seeing them on the streets.”

Russell Carr, Director of Design, Lotus, was hugely impressed with the unique and creative ways in which the photographers shot the car. “When you have spent thousands of hours looking something from every angle – as I have with the Evija – it’s fascinating to see how talented and creative people choose to photograph it when they’re seeing it for the first time. There is some amazing work in this collection and the design of the car really shines through.”

Russell and the Lotus design team have been honoured at the prestigious 2020 MUSE Design Awards, where the Evija was voted number one in the Automotive Transportation Design category. The international competition is judged by a grand jury of 56 design professionals representing 22 countries.

The Lotus Evija marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the history of an iconic and much-loved British sports car brand. Satisfying a brief to be the most powerful and dynamically accomplished road car in the history of the company, the Evija represents a thrilling new high water mark for Lotus driving performance.

Further investment in Lotus Engineering consultancy with major Hethel site upgrades

Further investment in Lotus Engineering consultancy with major Hethel site upgrades

Further investment in Lotus Engineering consultancy with major Hethel site upgrades

Lotus is revealing the latest upgrades to its Hethel site, which will help drive a new era of success for Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business.

The multi-million-pound investment is the latest chapter in the ongoing transformation of the Lotus company and brand. Site enhancements include the installation of numerous all-new and upgraded state-of-the-art engineering test facilities. These will be used by Lotus Engineering as it expands its portfolio of consultancy services and its client base, and will complement the Lotus Cars business as it prepares to deliver a new range of performance cars – the first of which will be unveiled next year.

Improvements include an all-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell, plus upgrades to the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) test and development cells, the Propulsion Prototype build workshop and the vehicle emissions lab.

The famous 2.2-mile Hethel test track – the scene of so much historic race and road car development since Lotus moved to the Norfolk site in 1966 – has also been upgraded.

These latest improvements are in addition to the all-new sports car factory which will be home to an all-new Lotus model starting next year, and in addition to the new assembly hall dedicated to the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar. Both will be manufacturing new Lotus cars during 2021.

In 2020 Lotus Engineering celebrates 40 years since it was formally incorporated. The consultancy provides a comprehensive range of technical services to many of the world’s best-known automotive manufacturers and suppliers. While much of its work and list of clients remains confidential, its ‘greatest hits’ include some of the best-known and most-loved performance cars of all time such as the Lotus Cortina, the Lotus Carlton, the Lotus Sunbeam and numerous others.

Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “We see huge potential to put Lotus Engineering right at the cutting edge of automotive innovation, further building on our core competencies as well as increasing our capability in growth areas.”

He continued: “An example is electrification; the challenges around weight reduction and improved dynamics are a major factor in the quest for more efficient electric vehicles, and those link back directly to the Lotus core values. What we continue to learn on the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar programme creates knowledge and experience which we can use to help other businesses.”

As announced in July this year, Lotus Engineering’s new home will be on the Wellesbourne campus of the University of Warwick, part of an all-new advanced technology centre for Lotus being established in the West Midlands.

The growth strategy for Lotus Engineering sees the services it offers categorised under three pillars:

EXPERIENCE: active noise, Human Machine Interface (HMI), user interface, user experience, cockpit, infotainment, driver engagement

PLATFORM: concepts, structures, architectures, propulsion, manufacturing

DYNAMICS: ride and handling, lightweighting, aerodynamics, simulation, chassis systems

Further details on the improvements at Hethel are listed below.

All-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell

An all-new facility at Lotus, it allows engineers to test EV powertrains including the motor, gearbox and supporting electronics. Lotus software can communicate with the motor control system and load the powertrain as if it were in a vehicle, to test, develop and validate its performance.

Upgraded Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) test and development cells

These are used for ICE development, calibration and durability testing, and have been upgraded to enable Lotus to deliver comprehensive world-class test data to the latest international standards. Specific improvements have been made to further improve capability and future-proofing on complex test profiles, calibration requirements, high-speed data acquisition and multiple channel configurations.

Upgraded Propulsion Prototype build workshop

This workshop allows Lotus engineers to build and test new engines, transmissions and EDUs. It has been completely redesigned and re-equipped with all-new hardware and new IT systems to improve the range of services offered. Today it is a world-class and highly efficient location ensuring high-quality prototype building.

Upgraded vehicle emissions lab

New equipment has been added to allow Lotus engineers to test and validate vehicles to the latest emissions standards, not just for the UK and Europe but in all international markets.

Upgraded Hethel test track

New additions to the famous circuit include new protective trackside barriers; new CCTV cameras to enable full track visibility; new safety systems including an upgraded entrance/exit barrier control system; and improved fire protection around the circuit.

Green power deal supercharges Lotus’ net-zero ambitions

Green power deal supercharges Lotus’ net-zero ambitions

Green power deal supercharges Lotus’ net-zero ambitions

Lotus and British Gas Business have embarked on a new green electricity deal, which sees the UK’s largest energy supplier provide renewable power to the sports car maker’s headquarters and supporting facilities. 

The contract, which began on 1 October, is REGO-backed (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin), where the power is purchased from 100% renewable sources, ensuring the electricity used across Lotus’ UK sites is carbon neutral. As a flexible contract, Lotus can also develop its own renewable assets on sites to self-support its power needs and further its green credentials. 

In May, Centrica (the parent company of British Gas) and Lotus announced a partnership to develop a new model for electric vehicle (EV) ownership that fully integrates future mobility and energy. Together, the companies aim to redefine and integrate the relationship between consumers, cars and electricity – controlled by smart devices at home and on the move – which will result in more efficient energy usage, carbon and cost savings. 

The companies are also set to introduce a comprehensive sustainability programme across Lotus, leveraging innovative, low-carbon technologies and mitigating the impacts of key business operations from manufacturing through to sales and supporting functions.

“This is an exciting new partnership which has got off to a fast start with this new supply contract announced today. Green power supplies offer an efficient means to supercharge commercial sustainability, and there is much more to follow from Centrica and Lotus as we plot the carmaker’s course to zero carbon,” said Carl Bayliss, Vice President of Mobility at Centrica.     

“This is a huge first step for us in our commitment to becoming a 100% carbon neutral business. Next steps include working across our supply chain as part of our net-zero pledge, launching more zero-emissions vehicles as introduced with the Lotus Evija hypercar, and ensuring these vehicles are manufactured and distributed using the latest, sustainable technology and techniques,” said Uday Senapati, Lotus Cars’ Executive Director of Corporate Strategy and Product Management. 

He added: “This is a step change and the start of an exciting journey for Lotus, which is not only about decarbonisation and environmental awareness, but also about making a significant, positive contribution to the customer journey. We will integrate cars, homes and mobile devices, making our model the most efficient, convenient and connected way to utilise energy.”

Lotus launches new Certificate of Provenance programme by honouring Colin Chapman’s last car – newly acquired by Lotus

Lotus launches new Certificate of Provenance programme by honouring Colin Chapman’s last car – newly acquired by Lotus

Lotus launches new Certificate of Provenance programme by honouring Colin Chapman’s last car – newly acquired by Lotus

Lotus is launching a new Certificate of Provenance programme, revealing the first recipient as a stunning and celebrated Turbo Esprit that was the final ‘company car’ of Lotus founder Colin Chapman. 

The 1981 model, which was also driven by UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during a visit to Norfolk, has recently been acquired by Lotus. Following a sympathetic restoration it will join the company’s collection.

The new Certificate of Provenance is designed to appeal to owners of Lotus cars from any era. They could buy one for themselves or receive it as a gift from friends or family. It is delivered in a distinctive ‘For The Drivers’ Lotus presentation box, which contains:

  • The Certificate of Provenance – printed on premium paper, this provides a summary of the car’s details including the VIN, paint colour and specification. The certificate also notes the date on which the car completed its production at the Hethel factory and was passed to the Lotus sales team.
  • The Build Specification Letter – drafted using detailed vehicle information from the Lotus archive*, this document provides more in-depth information about the car, including its engine, transmission, standard features and optional extras.
  • A personalised letter to the customer signed by Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, thanking them for their purchase and updating them on the transformation which is taking place at Lotus.

The three documents are presented in a simple black envelope placed inside the presentation box. Beneath it is a selection of Lotus collectables, including an aluminium plaque engraved with the owner’s name and information from the Certificate of Provenance; a leather Lotus keyring; a carbon fibre bookmark featuring the brand’s nine most significant motorsport laurels; a presentation tin of four badges; and a Lotus ink pen.

The Certificate of Provenance is available worldwide through Lotus retailers. In the UK it costs £170 + postage. Prices in other markets may vary. 

The 1981 Lotus Turbo Esprit has the UK registration plate UVF 464X and was first registered to Lotus on 1 August of that year. Its own Lotus Certificate of Provenance reveals it was allocated to company founder Colin Chapman for his exclusive use. Following Chapman’s death in December 1982, it was sold by Lotus in July 1983 and has been in private hands ever since, covering just 11,000 miles and regularly maintained.

Finished in metallic Silver Diamond paint with ‘Turbo Esprit’ decals, the factory-fitted optional extras include a full red leather interior, air-conditioning and a Panasonic audio system integrated into the headliner.

However, the specification is completely unique as it has several features added at the request of Chapman to improve his own driving comfort and enjoyment. These include power steering – it was the first Esprit ever to have this technology – plus modified and lowered suspension, modified brakes and BBS Mahle lattice alloy wheels.

On 5 August 1981 the car was used by Chapman to promote the latest Lotus range to the then UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, when she toured Norfolk. After landing at Norwich Airport and talking to Chapman, she sat behind the wheel and drove it round the site’s private roads. Local media reported that she had said: “I was tempted to drive away in it.”

Phil Popham, CEO, Lotus Cars, commented: “What better way to launch our Certificate of Provenance than by showing how it has validated the celebrated history of an iconic and unique Turbo Esprit. The Lotus archive is a fully catalogued database of information and can provide a wealth of insightful facts on any Lotus car from any era. It’s the perfect gift for a Lotus owner anywhere in the world.”

Speaking about the unique Turbo Esprit, he added: “This is an iconic and unique car from the Lotus back catalogue, personalised by our founder Colin Chapman and with a truly fascinating provenance. It deserves its place in our collection and we’re looking forward to showing it off.”