The New Era of Lotus - The Type 130
Words: Scott Blackburn
For the last few years, the small British car label, Lotus, has been quietly, slowly and seemingly surely declining. Now, however, that seems set to change ... drastically. The Norfolk-based company have been bought out by Chinese car firm, Geely, the same name that owns Polestar.
Geely are determined to drive Lotus into the 21st century, something that Lotus seem more than happy about. The first stage of this comes in the form of the Type 130. So far, all anyone's seen of the new model is it's outline and its charging port. Yes, it's electric.
The move to the next phase of automotive technology comes as Lotus look to re-establish themselves as a sports car maker, apparently in no small way either. The previously modest name are now talking about expansion into more mainstream markets, all the while maintaining the emphasis on their British roots. This commitment to Britain comes as other makers such as Ford and Honda begin to downsize or move respectively.
In terms of the Type 130 itself, the name is the first indicator of the importance that Lotus are placing on the model. Traditionally Lotus have used the prefix 'Type' on their particularly innovative models, including the 14, the 72 and the F1-famous 111. Anyone who knows Lotus will know that their underpinning feature is being lightweight, which is the one thing electric batteries are not.
However, they are keen to stress that they've made up for the extra Christmas belly with some impressive numbers elsewhere, the bhp is already expected to be in the region of 1,000. The teasers released so far show a long, low, and streamlined body that is noticeably different from the latest Lotuses, but still recognisable.
Geely are planning to invest well over £1.5 billion into Lotus and there is already talk of things such as switchable autonomous driving. Only 130 of the Type 130 will be produced, with orders set to begin next year. The re-assuring note here for Lotus enthusiasts is that, while the money is Chinese, the innovation and design choices are firmly in the hands of Lotus themselves.