‘It’s like comparing a fighter jet to a child’s kite’: Norfolk boss on new electric Lotus

PUBLISHED: 12:58 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 14:05 12 May 2020

Only 130 models of Evija will be made. Picture: John Wycherley/Lotus

Only 130 models of Evija will be made. Picture: John Wycherley/Lotus

JW Photography

The senior engineer at Norfolk car firm Lotus has spoken publicly for the first time about the company’s new electric sports car.

The new Lotus Evija. Pic: LotusThe new Lotus Evija. Pic: Lotus

Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist who has worked at Lotus for more than 30 years, has led the new all-electric car’s design.

And when asked how the Evija compares to regular sports cars, he said: “It’s like comparing a fighter jet to a child’s kite.”

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The Lotus Evija. Pic: LotusThe Lotus Evija. Pic: Lotus

He explained the car’s aerodynamics, saying: “It’s about keeping the airflow low and flat at the front and guiding it through the body to emerge high at the rear. Put simply, it transforms the whole car into an inverted wing to produce that all-important dynamic downforce.

“Most cars have to punch a hole in the air, to get through using brute force, but the Evija is unique because of its porosity. The car literally ‘breathes’ the air. The front acts like a mouth; it ingests the air, sucks every kilogram of value from it – in this case, the downforce – then exhales it through that dramatic rear end.”

The Evija, the first electric hypercar made by the firm, goes into production at Hethel later this year. The firm, owned by Chinese company Geely, announced recently it was teaming up with Centrica to produce its future electric fleet.

Richard Hill at Lotus. Pic: LotusRichard Hill at Lotus. Pic: Lotus

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Mr Hill went on to explain why the Evija was pioneering in its design. “It’s designed in three sections; the larger central area provides air to cool the battery pack – which is mid-mounted behind the two seats – while the air channelled through the two smaller outer sections cools the front e-axle.

“Its Venturi tunnels through the rear quarters feed the wake rearward to help cut drag. Think of it this way; without them the Evija would be like a parachute but with them it’s a butterfly net, and they make the car unique in the hypercar world.

“Lotus pioneered the full carbon fibre chassis in Formula 1, and the Evija is the first Lotus road car to use that technology.”

As well as working on road and race cars, Mr Hill was the brains behind the Lotus Type 108 and Type 110 – better known as the Lotus Sport track and road bikes ridden to glory in the 1990s by legendary British Olympic and Tour de France cyclist Chris Boardman. He has also been instrumental in the development of the new track bike developed by Lotus for British Cycling athletes who will compete in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

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