The new Lotus Emira won’t be swept out of showrooms by a new electric car, worry not – at least not immediately.
The new 2022 Lotus Emira sports car will be sold alongside its electric successor – at least for the immediate future, according to an overseas report.
Lotus Cars managing director Matt Windle told Autocar the “there will be an overlap” between the Emira – the brand’s final petrol car – and its eventual spiritual successor, the ‘Type 135’ electric sports car, due in 2027 (delayed from 2026, as previously announced).
While Lotus “has yet to put an end date on the Emira”, according to Autocar, it’s inevitable the Emira will be phased out, and Lotus will go all-electric – though whether it occurs this decade or next remains to be seen.
The iconic Lotus Elise was in production in various forms for 25 years – though with the UK set to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, the Emira is highly unlikely to attempt the same feat.
Set to enter production in 2027, the new electric Lotus sports car – codenamed Type 135 (teased above) – will “sit in its own segment”, according to Windle, rather than replace the Emira directly, or its Elise, Exige or Evora forebears.
“I’ve seen the design of the car. It’s very exciting. Performance-wise, it will be incredible. We’ve set out the attributes we want from it, and we’re really looking forward to getting it here,” Windle told Autocar.
The Type 135 project was initially earmarked to be co-developed with Renault’s performance car brand Alpine – however the Lotus boss says the plans have not been finalised, and any French spin-off wouldn’t be simply be a rebadged Lotus.
“If we go forward, which isn’t confirmed yet, they will be different cars, because we don’t want to be competing with each other in the same market,” he said. But at the moment, the project is progressing at the pace we would expect it to be.”
Where this leaves Alpine’s side of the project – which was slated for launch in 2026, to replace the petrol A110 coupe on sale since 2018 – is unclear, should Lotus choose to develop the Type 135 and its platform (below) alone.
Windle added: “2027 is the target for SOP [the start of production]. We’ve got a heck of a lot of work to do before then, because that will be a volume uplift compared to where we are with the Emira,” referencing the brand’s plan to sell 100,000 cars annually by 2028.
“It [the Type 135] can be built in the same area [as the Evija hypercar]. What we’ve done with the Evija line is make it monument-free so that it’s flexible and we can move it around.”
A decision on future electric sports cars beyond the Type 135 will be made later, with Windle telling Autocar: “We need to start doing Vision 90 [the brand’s next 10-year strategic plan], but we haven’t got our heads around that yet.
“Once the Emira and Evija are flowing properly, we need to start working out the strategy for the next 10 years.”
The Emira and upcoming Type 135 will be joined in showrooms by three ‘lifestyle’ electric cars, aimed at higher volumes: the Eletre large SUV on sale overseas next year, the Type 133 large sedan slated for 2023, and the Type 134 mid-size SUV set for 2024.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.