You’re looking at the most powerful production car ever: the new Lotus Evija. Just 130 will be built, with deliveries starting in the second half of 2020, and it promises to set new benchmarks in terms of performance and track capability. The Evija is all-electric and all carbon-fiber, and it makes a staggering 1,972 horsepower (2000 metric hp). Forget zero-to-60-mph statistics, as they seem almost irrelevant, and try to wrap your head around this: Lotus says the Evija (say “EVE-eye-ah”) will accelerate from zero to 186 mph in 8.6 seconds. A Bugatti Chiron needs 13.6 seconds to reach the same speed.
This is a whole new world for Lotus. And I’m not just talking about the aesthetics, performance, and price of the $2.1 million (plus local taxes) Evija. Of course, the numbers are extraordinary but for a British journalist like me, the exclusive London venue, the pomp, and the attention to detail in the planning of the unveil event is like no Lotus launch that has gone before.
Usually, an invitation from Lotus involves copious cups of tea, some biscuits, a powerpoint presentation, and then a cheery wave as you leave the factory in Hethel, Norfolk, in the latest Elise, Exige, or Evora. This time it’s laser-light shows, string quartets, canapés, and champagne at the Royal Horticultural Society in Westminster. Chinese manufacturer Geely—who bought a majority stake in Lotus in 2017—clearly saw huge potential and expertise in the perennially on-the-brink manufacturer, and now it’s investing heavily in Lotus’s future. The Evija might not be a traditional or attainable Lotus but it’s a statement of intent. A relaunch. In the words of Lotus Group CEO Feng Qingfeng, “a solemn promise to reinforce and strengthen the brand.”