Lotus primes Type 133 saloon to rival Porsche Taycan

99 Lotus EV four door render by Autocar

Type 133 saloon will draw on tech used by Eletre SUV

Electric four-door will arrive next year as a driver-focused car with all-wheel drive and 592bhp

Having unveiled its crucial Eletre SUV, Lotus will now shift focus to readying its second Chinese-built ‘lifestyle’ EV, the Type 133 saloon, for launch in 2023.

The Type 133, which will follow Lotus convention in getting a name beginning with ‘E’ in production guise, will provide the brand with a more direct rival to the hugely popular Porsche Taycan, which company bosses confirmed as one of the main benchmarking influences while developing the Eletre, despite the two cars’ different positionings.

Gavan Kershaw, Lotus’s director of attributes and product integrity, said dynamic development of the Eletre was “really, benchmarking the platform”, rather than the car itself, with a view to then rolling it out to the Type 133 and a future Type 134 crossover.

Kershaw referenced the suspension technologies – “active roll control, CDC [continuous damping control], air-sprung independent active rear steer and active aero” – as features that most obviously mark the aluminium Electric Premium Architecture out as the more dynamically oriented platform in the Geely Group stable. He also said they have been ‘package-protected’ for “everything we want to do” with future electric cars, suggesting the Type 133 will follow suit with a similar set-up.

“Our type of car – that we want to drive as well as it looks – requires all that technology,” he said, hinting that the ‘lifestyle’ positioning of EVs built by Lotus Technology in Wuhan, China, will not come at the expense of driver engagement.

Further details of the Type 133 remain under wraps, but using the 592bhp twin-motor drivetrain from the launch-spec Eletre would line the saloon neatly up against the Porsche Taycan GTS, leaving ample room above and below for both softer and more hardcore additions to the line-up.

Indeed, Lotus managing director Matt Windle confirmed that 592bhp is “where we’re starting at – there’s more to come” from Lotus EVs.

Design work on the Type 133 is understood to be approaching the sign-off stage in line with Lotus’s plan to accelerate product development time frames, but it will not simply take the form of a lower-slung Eletre.

Lotus senior vice-president of design Peter Horbury was keen to emphasise that while “there has to be some continuity and family identity” across the range of Lotus EVs, “families aren’t made up entirely of triplets or quadruplets. Every member of a family can have their own character.”

The Type 133, then, can be expected to borrow cues from the Eletre but adopt a distinct overall design, albeit one that is still heavily influenced by Lotus’s preoccupation with aerodynamic efficiency.

Lotus’s ‘perfect’ three-car garage

With three radically different models now on sale, Lotus provides the “perfect garage”, according to managing director Matt Windle, who envisions that diversification will play a key role in attracting conquest customers to the brand.

Windle said: “You can own a Lotus for every stage of your life. That’s something that hasn’t been there before, and we hope that people buy into the brand and understand what we’re trying to do.”

The Lotus Emira is now rolling down production lines ahead of summer deliveries, the Lotus Evija will follow a few months behind and deliveries of the Eletre – for which 20% of the deposit target had been met even before the reveal – will begin next year.

Source: Autocar

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