Lotus unveils multi-million pound investment at its Hethel site
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Lotus has unveiled the upgrades to its Hethel site, which will help drive a new era of success for Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business.
The multi-million-pound investment is the latest chapter in the ongoing transformation of the Lotus company and brand. Site enhancements include the installation of numerous all-new and upgraded state-of-the-art engineering test facilities. These will be used by Lotus Engineering as it expands its portfolio of consultancy services and its client base, and will complement the Lotus Cars business as it prepares to deliver a new range of performance cars – the first of which will be unveiled next year.
Improvements include an all-new Electric Drive Unit (EDU) test cell, plus upgrades to the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) test and development cells, the Propulsion Prototype build workshop and the vehicle emissions lab.
The famous 2.2-mile Hethel test track – the scene of so much historic race and road car development since Lotus moved to the Norfolk site in 1966 – has also been upgraded.
These latest improvements are in addition to the all-new sports car factory which will be home to an all-new Lotus model starting next year, and in addition to the new assembly hall dedicated to the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar. Both will be manufacturing new Lotus cars during 2021.
In 2020 Lotus Engineering celebrates 40 years since it was formally incorporated. The consultancy provides a comprehensive range of technical services to many of the world’s best-known automotive manufacturers and suppliers. While much of its work and list of clients remains confidential, its ‘greatest hits’ include some of the best-known and most-loved performance cars of all time such as the Lotus Cortina, the Lotus Carlton, the Lotus Sunbeam and numerous others.
Matt Windle, Executive Director, Engineering, Lotus, commented: “We see huge potential to put Lotus Engineering right at the cutting edge of automotive innovation, further building on our core competencies as well as increasing our capability in growth areas.”
He continued: “An example is electrification; the challenges around weight reduction and improved dynamics are a major factor in the quest for more efficient electric vehicles, and those link back directly to the Lotus core values. What we continue to learn on the Lotus Evija all-electric hypercar programme creates knowledge and experience which we can use to help other businesses.”
As announced in July this year, Lotus Engineering’s new home will be on the Wellesbourne campus of the University of Warwick, part of an all-new advanced technology centre for Lotus being established in the West Midlands.
Lotus Engineering’s services cover three areas: Experience (which focuses on the user’s interaction, the human-machine interface and driver engagement), Platform (supplying structures, entire architectures, propulsion and manufacturing methods) and Dynamics (looking at aerodynamics, ride and handling and weight reduction).