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Lotus Moves to Float Its EV Division

  • Lotus is 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 follow soon behind.
  • Lotus Technology will build cars in China, while Lotus Cars—which isn’t part of the listing—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 afterwards, Geely chairman Li Shufu told journalists that Lotus was going to be radically transformed and sent into new market segments. This week’s announcement that the Lotus Technology division is going to be listed on the New York’s NASDAQ is a significant step in this process.

    Confusingly, the floatation isn’t for Lotus Cars, the existing UK-based business which will continue to produce the Emira and future sports cars at its factory in Hethel. Lotus Technology is a separate division within the overall Group Lotus, one that will be headquartered in China, and which is set to produce a range of EVs starting with the Lotus Eletre that was shown last year. This new family of ‘lifestyle’ models will be built in China, with Lotus saying it will be producing up to 100,000 of these a year by 2028; Lotus Cars in the UK makes fewer than 10,000 cars annually.

    Lotus Technology already has a different ownership structure to Lotus Cars, with other investors holding minority stakes including another Chinese automaker, Nio. It will be floated in New York after merging with the snappily named L Catterton Asia Acquisition Corp, a so-called Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) created for the purpose of merging with a non-listed company. Lotus Technology predicts that the finished deal will value it at around $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.

    The first vehicle expected to roll out under the banner of Lotus Technology’s new corporate configuration is the Electre EV crossover.

    Lotus

    So what’s in the pipeline? The Eletre is scheduled to reach the States in 2024 and will be followed soon afterwards by an EV sedan that sits on the same Electric Performance Architecture platform, this being developed under the model name Type 133. Insiders say it will have similar powertrain options to the Eletre, meaning all-wheel drive and outputs ranging from 600 hp to over 900 hp.

    This will be followed by a smaller electric SUV, currently known only as the Type 134, also sitting on the EPA platform and to be built in China. This will be launched in 2025 and we’re told to expect it to be a rival to the next-generation Porsche Macan EV.

    Not that Lotus is forgetting about the lower and sleeker cars it is better known for. In parallel with the development of the trio of ‘lifestyle’ models, a new EV sports car is being developed, with the engineering of this project led from the UK. Once finished this car—the Type 135 – will be built at Hethel. Renault’s Alpine subsidiary is also planning to use a version of this sportscar platform to create its first EV.

    One thing is clear—Lotus’s future is shaping up to be very different from its past.


    European Editor
    Mike Duff has been writing about the auto industry for two decades and calls the UK home, although he normally lives life on the road.

    Read the full article here

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