Lotus Evija: 2000bhp EV hits the track at Goodwood Speedweek

The upcoming Lotus Evija has appeared on circuit at Goodwood Speedweek, as Hethel gears up to begin customer deliveries next year.

Shown in a gold and black livery reminiscent of the firm’s 1970s Formula 1 cars, the 1923bhp EV carried out a parade lap before conducting its first public standing start and completing a lap at speed. The run was not timed, and Lotus will not be attempting to set a lap record over the weekend.

The appearance follows the recent release of a new film revealing further details of the Evija. Timed to coincide with the Evija’s appearance at UK motor show Salon Privé, the clip shows the extreme EV being driven at speed on the company’s Hethel test track and gives us our best look yet at its interior features.

In the footage, director of vehicle attributes Gavan Kershaw explains the Evija’s five driving modes: Range, City, Tour, Sport and Track.

Range and City modes restrict maximum power to around 1000bhp and 590lb ft, with the car defaulting to rear-wheel drive, and City adjusting the level of regenerative braking for a smoother low-speed ride.

Tour mode sees power raised to 1400bhp, and the all-wheel drive system allowing torque vectoring when required. In this mode, the car is still able to activate its nose lift at speeds of up to 30mph. Sport raises the limit further to around 1700bhp and 1254lb ft, with stability control systems engaged to increase traction levels.

Only Track mode boosts power to the maximum 1923bhp, with the highest level of torque-vectoring and drag reduction system (DRS) available to the driver.

In-car cameras provide a glimpse at the car’s cockpit and the battery pack located directly behind the passenger seats. The all-digital instrument binnacle is shown displaying widgets that detail downforce, tyre pressures, energy consumption or lap times, with a control panel in the centre console allowing the driver to toggle through the different screens.

The car is shown with a near-production interior, with some aspects yet to be finalised, but the footage does give a closer look at the rear-view video monitor used in place of a traditional mirror and motorsport-inspired rectangular steering wheel, complete with dials for adjusting drive modes.

Evija deliveries have been pushed back five months as a result of the pandemic. As exclusively reported by Autocar, lockdowns, travel restrictions and quarantine rules hampered the firm’s ability to continue the model’s testing programme, which will recommence as restrictions ease.

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“We wanted, if this doesn’t sound ridiculous, a really usable hypercar,” said Carr. “The Evija is very much a road car. But obviously the performance credentials of this car mean that it can be driven on the track.

“Certainly from our side the work we’ve done on the aerodynamics means that it’s going to be an extremely quick car, generating a huge amount of downforce, which means it can be driven at high speeds. It’s going to be a stable car wherever it’s driven.”

Q&A with Russell Carr, design director, Lotus Cars

Tell us about the way air moves around this car. 

“Something very Lotus which we’ve taken to another level is the aerodynamics. It’s always been part of our history and motorsport: in the ’60s we were among the first teams putting wings on cars, we had ground effects in the ’70s and streamlining way back in the ’50s. With this car, the philosophy was that we wanted to harness the airflow over the body of the car, but also through the body of the car. We’re not the first people to do it, but we wanted to do it in a very sculptural manner that would give a different aesthetic to the car.”

What does that mean for aesthetics? 

“When you look at the car from the outside you see familiar volume, we hope a very beautiful-looking car. It’s important that it’s beautiful in the first place. But as you walk around it you start to see openings that go through the car, which allow the air to pass through. As I say, that gives it a different aesthetic, draws the eye through the car and over the car, and gives it a great sense of movement.”