Lotus goes public with its EV division

Lotus goes public with its EV divisionLotus

  • Lotus has yet to deliver its first electric vehicle, but has already gone public with the Lotus Technology division which will build them on NASDAQ.

  • Lotus has already introduced its first electric vehicle, the Eletre, which will arrive in the United States next year. At least three other models will soon follow behind.

  • Lotus Technology will build cars in China, while Lotus Cars, which is not on the list, will continue to make sports cars in the UK.

When Chinese industrial giant Geely Group bought Lotus nearly six years ago, the British sports car maker was added to a portfolio that already included Volvo and Polestar. Soon after, Geely Chairman Li Shufu told reporters that Lotus was going to be radically transformed and sent into new market segments. The announcement this week that the Lotus Technology division will be listed on NASDAQ in New York is an important step in this process.

Confusingly, the flotation is not for Lotus Cars, the existing UK-based company which will continue to produce the Emira and future sports cars at its Hethel plant. Lotus Technology is a separate division within the entire Lotus Group, which will be headquartered in China and is expected to produce a range of electric vehicles starting with the Lotus Eletre which was introduced last year. This new family of “lifestyle” models will be built in China, with Lotus saying it will produce up to 100,000 a year by 2028; Lotus Cars in the UK manufactures less than 10,000 cars a year.

Lotus Technology already has a different ownership structure than Lotus Cars, with other investors holding minority stakes, including another Chinese automaker, Nio. It will be introduced in New York after merging with the aptly named L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp, a so-called special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) created with the intention of merging with an unlisted company. Lotus Technology expects the deal to be valued at around $5.4 billion. But Geely and its minority partners will continue to control nearly 90% of the new company, which will trade under a LOT symbol.

lotus eletre

The first vehicle expected to roll out under the banner of Lotus Technology’s new corporate setup is the Electre EV crossover.Lotus

So what’s in the pipeline? The Eletre is expected to reach the United States in 2024 and will be followed shortly thereafter by an EV sedan that is based on the same electric performance architecture platform, developed as the Type 133 model. Insiders say that It will have similar powertrain options to the Eletre, i.e. all-wheel drive and outputs ranging from 600hp to over 900hp.

This will be followed by a smaller electric SUV, currently known only as the Type 134, which will also sit on the EPA platform and be built in China. It will launch in 2025 and we’re told to expect it to be a rival to the next generation Porsche Macan EV.

Not that Lotus is forgetting the lower, sleeker cars it’s best known for. Alongside the development of the trio of “lifestyle” models, a new electric sports car is being developed, with engineering for this project being led from the UK. Once completed, this car, the Type 135, will be built in Hethel. Renault’s Alpine subsidiary is also planning to use a version of this sports car platform to create its first electric vehicle.

One thing is clear: the future of Lotus looks very different from its past.

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