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Lotus announces partnership with Britishvolt, teases Type 135 sports car

Lotus has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Britishvolt to collaborate on research and development of new battery-electric vehicle technology. This partnership will focus on codeveloping a new package to power the Lotus Type 135, the upcoming sports car scheduled for release in 2026. It will feature Lotus’proprietary electric propulsion system together with Britishvolt’s cells. Britishvolt is the foremost investor in battery cell technology in the United Kingdom and is known for its sustainable, low-carbon production. Some of the key focuses of this partnership include fast charging, energy density optimization, and weight reduction.

This collaboration is the latest move to turn Lotus into a global performance brand following a larger £100 million (134 million) investment in its manufacturing sites including its home base, in Hethel on the outskirts of Norwich. It will bring 3,000 direct high-skilled jobs plus another 5,000 via the supply chain to the Northumberland region of the United Kingdom. Work on the new site for Britishvolt’s new battery manufacturing center started this past Sept. and will be built in phases to keep up with technology advancements. It will have a capacity of over 30 GWh by the end of the decade and going forward.

Along with announcing its partnership with Britishvolt, Lotus also released the first sketch of the Type 135, the sports car that will complete its EV lineup. The single teaser evokes design cues from the Esprit built from 1976 to 2004. It features a midship design that hints it could also be taking design cues from the 2010 Esprit design concept. That suggests the Type 135 could be on the larger end of the spectrum and is likely a completely different sports car from the model that Lotus is codeveloping with Alpine. Like the Esprit, the sketch shows that this vehicle has a wedge shape and a rear spoiler, suggesting that a lot of work went into making sure it easily slips through the air.

The size of this vehicle hints that this will use Lotus’ new Esports platform. Considering the vehicle’s size, it’s likely underpinned by the long-wheelbase version and could feature a 2+2 seating configuration. This also means the battery will be mounted under the passenger compartment to keep the center of gravity as low as possible. Since this is likely a vehicle slotting below the Evija, it could get the 12-module 99.6-kWh battery pack and two electric motors making nearly 900 hp.

When it debuts four years from now, the Lotus Type 135 will be preceded by three vehicles. The first, called the Type 132, is a crossover due to make its global debut this spring. It will be followed by a sedan dubbed the Type 133 in 2023 and a second utility vehicle in 2025 code-named the Type 134. Like the Type 135, these three are battery-electric vehicles but they’ll be underpinned by Lotus’ new Premium architecture. Development for these cars is taking place at a new facility in China.

Lotus’ sports car development will stay at the brand’s home base in Hethel. Production will also remain there while the crossovers and sedans will be built at a new factory in China with an integrated test track featuring 16 corners. Both sites will work together in developing the full lineup with the backing of Geely Holdings Group. Expect more teasers of the Lotus Type 135 to emerge as we get closer to its official world debut.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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