Lotus Unveils Chassis for its BEV Family

Lotus has unveiled its new chassis dedicated to its coming family of BEV sports cars.

The new structure has been developed through Project LEVA (lightweight electric vehicle architecture), a research program that’s hoping to advance the automaker’s development of lightweight structures for next-generation BEVs. Already, the rear structure is 37% lighter than it is on the Lotus Emira V6 and is getting to the point of being market ready.

It also claims to be fully adaptable to provide a platform for a range of EVs with variable layouts, wheelbase lengths, battery sizes and configurations. Three proposed layouts feature a common lightweight die-cast rear sub-frame with multiple interchangeable components.

The single vehicle architecture can accommodate two different types of battery. ‘Chest’ layout, where the modules are stacked vertically behind the two seats. A chest layout is a ‘mid-mounted power pack’, for sports car/hypercar vehicle types where a low overall ride height and low center of gravity are required, and as seen on the Lotus Evija pure electric hypercar.

‘Slab’ layout, where the modules are integrated horizontally under the cabin. This aimed at vehicles where a higher ride height and a taller overall profile is required. It is often referred to as a ‘skateboard power pack’ layout. The new subframe features cylindrical battery cells for high energy density, with the option of a single or twin electronic drive unit.

Configurations with a two-seat of 2,470mm wheelbase with an eight-module battery chest of 66.4kWh with a single motor output of 464bhp. An eight-module battery slab with the same 66.4kWh can be used in a 2+2 seater 2,650mm wheelbase with either a single 464bhp motor or two boasting 928bhp. A third version includes a two-seater with the longer wheelbase but with a 12-module battery chest and two electric motors with the higher output.

Richard Moore, executive director, engineering, Lotus Cars, said: “Project LEVA and the electric sports car architecture are perfect illustrations of the innovation which continues to be at the heart of everything Lotus does. Today’s EVs are heavy in comparison to their ICE equivalents, so the ARMD funding has helped Lotus to innovate earlier in the product cycle and develop a new vehicle architecture that targets lightweight and performance density from conception. Rather than developing a single vehicle, it means Lotus now has the ‘blueprint’ for the next generation of electric sports cars, for future Lotus products and for the Lotus Engineering consultancy to commercialize.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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