To many purist driving enthusiasts, the lack of a compelling lightweight battery-powered sportscar has a been a disappointing feature of the current transition to greater electrification. Even Tesla has been unable to build a terrifically low mass sportscars. But now the company that enabled Tesla to produce its first product, is partnering with Renault.
The French car giant has announced that it is entering a memorandum of cooperation with Lotus. For the British brand, this might be its last opportunity for survival, after decades of financial misfortunate and ownership changes.
How does the agreement between Renault and Lotus shape? It will use the platform and advanced vehicle dynamics engineering of Lotus to enhance the Renault Alpine lightweight sportscar range.
Alpine has been an immense brand builder for Renault, illustrating that the French company’s Renaultsport division is capable of a lot more than front-wheel drive hot hatchbacks. Renault has a strong portfolio of electric vehicles, with relatively potent battery chemistries.
Electric motor developing and designing
In theory, Renault would shoulder the burden of battery and electric motor development, manufacturing and supply. Lotus will in all likelihood design the sportscar platforms, integrate the powertrains and balance the dynamics with its legendary suspension and steering expertise.
Lotus has teased some outrageous electric vehicle concepts and also promised the immensely powerful Evija will come to market this year. Ambition has never been an issue for Lotus, although the company has an unpredictable history of delivering on all product promises over the last few years.
With Renault resources, Lotus might become more predictable in delivering on its exact development schedule.
The potential for a Renault/Lotus lightweight electric sportscar is immense, with both companies have produced some outstanding high-performance vehicles.
Lotus also has an excellent record of working with other brands as an engineering consultancy on specific products, having helped Toyota and Aston Martin with suspension calibration on its sportscars.