Lotus Type 135: Architecture and specifications
The Type 135 will be built around the dedicated Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture) structure that was set to also underpin the Alpine A110 successor.
The new E-Sports platform, which incorportates LEVA, will give it a mid-engined-style layout, most likely with the battery pack stacked in the middle of the car, rather than under the floor, as is usual for EVs. That will allow the Porsche Boxster rival to sit lower and ensure weight distribution is more in keeping with its remit.
The E-Sports platform has yet to be revealed in its entirety, but the LEVA element is said to be 37% lighter than the equivalent structure used by the combustion-engined Emira sports car.
It has been designed from the ground up to compensate for the added weight of an electric powertrain and with a view to replicating the typical dynamic traits of previous Lotus models.
The batteries can either be stacked vertically behind the seats, in a layout reminiscent of a conventional mid-engined format, or arranged under the floor in longer-wheelbase cars with rear seats.
The LEVA unit will be mated to a bulkhead and front end completely unrelated to those used by the Emira, but managing director Matt Windle previously said he was keen for Lotus’s trademark dynamic agility to be carried over to the new models.
“It’s our DNA: dynamics, aerodynamics, lightweighting – that’s what we do on all our products,” Windle told Autocar at the LEVA’s unveiling. “We still want these to be Lotus products. They are going to have a different propulsion system but that system comes with benefits as well: instant torque, easier cooling and better packaging, so the first sports car [the Type 135] will have a lot of storage and packaging benefits as well.”
The E-Sports architecture will host single- and twin-motor powertrains ranging in output from 469bhp to 872bhp. This means the entry-level sports car will pack nearly double the power of even the most powerful iteration of the Elise, and more powerful versions could fill the gap left by the more track-focused Exige.