Lotus has yet to deliver its first EV, but is already going public with the Lotus Technology division that will build them on the NASDAQ.
Lotus has already shown its first EV, the Eletre, which will reach the US next year. At least three other models will soon follow.
Lotus Technology will build cars in China, while Lotus Cars – which is not part of the list – will continue to make sports cars in the UK.
When Chinese industrial giant Geely Group bought Lotus nearly six years ago, the British sports car maker was added to a portfolio that already included Volvo and Polestar. Soon after, Geely chairman Li Shufu told journalists that Lotus would be radically transformed and steered into new market segments. This week’s announcement that the Lotus Technology division will be listed on New York’s NASDAQ is an important step in this process.
Confusingly, the IPO is not for Lotus Cars, the existing British company that will continue to produce the Emira and future sports cars at its Hethel plant. Lotus Technology is a separate division within the overall Lotus Group, which will be headquartered in China and will produce a range of electric cars, starting with the Lotus Eletre shown last year. This new family of ‘lifestyle’ models will be built in China, of which Lotus says it will produce up to 100,000 a year by 2028; Lotus Cars in the UK makes less than 10,000 cars a year.
Lotus Technology already has a different ownership structure than Lotus Cars, with other investors holding minority stakes, including another Chinese automaker, Nio. It will be introduced in New York following the merger with the aptly named L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp, a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) formed for the purpose of merging with a privately held company. Lotus Technology forecasts the completed deal will value it at approximately $5.4 billion. But Geely and minority partners will continue to control nearly 90 percent of the new company, which will trade under a LOT ticker.
So what’s in the pipeline? The Eletre is expected to reach the United States in 2024 and will be followed soon after by an EV sedan that sits on the same Electric Performance Architecture platform and is being developed under the model name Type 133. Insiders say it will have similar powertrain options to the Eletre, or four-wheel drive and powers ranging from 600 hp to over 900 hp.
This will be followed by a smaller electric SUV, currently known only as the Type 134, which also sits on the EPA platform and will be built in China. This will launch in 2025 and we’re told it’ll be a rival to the next generation Porsche Macan EV.
Not that Lotus is forgetting the lower and slimmer cars it is better known for. Parallel to the development of the trio of ‘lifestyle’ models, a new EV sports car is being developed, with the engineering of this project being led from the UK. Once finished, this car – the Type 135 – will be built in Hethel. Renault’s Alpine subsidiary also plans to use a version of this sports car platform to make its first EV.
One thing is clear: the future of Lotus looks very different from its past.