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Car maker Lotus in row over ditching supplier on the Evija

PUBLISHED: 15:18 03 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:59 04 September 2020

Lotus has terminated its contract with WAE on the new Evija. Pic: Lotus/Archant library

Lotus has terminated its contract with WAE on the new Evija. Pic: Lotus/Archant library

Archant

Norfolk sportscar firm Lotus has declared its new Evija hypercar will be better by using its own expanded workforce.

Lotus' Evija being shown to potential customers in the Middle East last year. Lotus has terminated its contract with WAE on the new Evija. Pic: Lotus/Archant libraryLotus' Evija being shown to potential customers in the Middle East last year. Lotus has terminated its contract with WAE on the new Evija. Pic: Lotus/Archant library

The Hethel-based firm is five months behind schedule of delivery of the world’s first all-electric sports car because of Covid.

And it has decided to bring the final engineering work in-house after ‘delivery problems’ from the firm Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE) which was contracted to work on the car’s battery development.

WAE refutes the claims, however, and is instigating legal action after stating it considers Lotus to be in breach of its agreement with them.

Lotus has terminated its contract with WAE on the new Evija. Pic: Lotus/Archant libraryLotus has terminated its contract with WAE on the new Evija. Pic: Lotus/Archant library

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The decision to terminate the WAE contract comes after Lotus had grown its own engineering capacity by more than 300 workers to around 1500 which it didn’t have at the start of the project, it has stated.

Lotus insists it can also improve the Evija’s power, aerodynamic qualities and its downforce by using its own engineers.

WAE, which saw a majority stake in its business sold at the end of 2019, is the engineering services business of the Williams Group that owns the Formula 1 team. It is now pursuing a legal claim against Lotus for terminating the contract which it says has put UK jobs at risk.

A spokesman from Lotus said: “As the Evija programme enters its latter stages, Lotus has elected to bring the project in-house due to delivery problems from WAE. As a result, Lotus has terminated its contract with WAE as a technical partner for high voltage and battery development on the Evija hypercar project.

“Lotus will complete and enhance the programme in-house. The end result will be a better product as we introduce not only the most powerful production car in the world, but also the world’s best electric car ‘For The Drivers.’”

WAE released a statement to this newspaper, saying: “As a result of the termination, highly skilled UK jobs are now at risk...WAE had continued to perform outstanding work and progress the project despite the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Following Lotus’ wrongful termination of its agreement with WAE, WAE has been left with no choice but to instigate legal action to pursue compensation and other losses caused by Lotus’ breach of the agreement.”

Only 130 Evijas are being built costing from around £2m each.


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