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Based around when Tesla moved structural components in batteries into the mainstream conversation, there are 2 types of "structural batteries":  a structural battery pack and structural battery cells.  The core principle is basically instead of 2 separate and adjacent parts doing the different things, let's combine them the simplify the amount of parts and reduce weight.  With a structural pack, the outer shell that holds and contains the entirety of all battery cells (i.e. battery pack) for crash protection, puncture protection, thermal runaway prevention/mitigation, electric stuff isolation, rigidity against battery weight, etc. does double duty as the vehicle structure to connect to subframes, provide vehicle floor rigidity, act in vehicle side crash safety overall, and such (honestly I won't act to know all the requirements that are needed for vehicle lower structures).  Like in the below picture, the rear subframe and the seat rails are literally bolted directly to the battery pack.  Normally in the early EV stages right now, batteries attach to some sort of lower structure frame, which connects to subframes, seats, body in white, etc., especially for ICE platforms that have been repurposed into EV ones.

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What I was talking about for Lotus was that structural pack.  My supposed difficulty with using a supplier battery pack design over one developed by and for Lotus is that I can't imagine a supplier's design being able to be a structural pack.  To do so, the supplier's scope would need to fulfill vehicle-level requirements that can vary significantly vehicle to vehicle if they want to have the greatest compatibility with the most customers, like mounting points, crash safety targets, size targets, and rigidity targets.  Fulfilling all those with a wide breadth would basically be CATL making its own platform at that point.  So if CATL isn't making a structural battery, then Lotus is principally starting on a bad foot here.  Theoretically, Lotus could significantly minimize the weight of the normal vehicle structure to adapt to the inherent CATL battery structure, even if the design of the two aspects were not integrated from the start and ground-up, to optimize from this solution.  But considering Lotus is leveraging an existing Geely SEA platform, the chances of bespoke vehicle structure designed around this CATL battery are low.  

Anyway, eUKenGB, what you're describing is structural battery cells.  With structural battery cells, the idea can be simplified into "if we have all these batteries with all these casings, why don't we utilize these casings for more things like structure?"  Batteries theoretically can be a structural component; there should be a theoretical max amount of load the casings can take without compromising the casing integrity or causing deformation.  Any gating reason preventing the solution, like say the battery tabs being too vulnerable to disconnection as a result, is an exercise in problem solving.  If the solution doesn't work in the real world, then the vehicle requirements were not assessed correctly.  Structural cells only become a non-solution when their most viable case is worse in all metrics due to complexity than another solution like a structural pack.

 

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I'm not aware of anyone actually having announced the use of structural cells yet. That will possibly change, but currently it's always cells in a pack, whether the latter is structural or not. Even Tesla's latest 4860 cell (that is so new it's not even being used in production yet) is just another individual cell that requires something to hold them together in a pack - which may or may not be structural.

Regarding Lotus and CATL, is it not possible that CATL would manufacture structural cells to suit their customer's requirements? So CATL manufacture the structural cells/pack to whatever Geely specify. Rather than simply churning out cells and leave it up to their customer (i.e. the car manufacturer) to fit them all together, why not operate like most third party suppliers to auto manufacturers and make the parts specifically to suit that customer (and only that customer as others will have different requirements/designs).

I don't really see a situation where Lotus have to design their car to suit some inappropriate generic structural pack design from CATL.

Ultimately it's probably pointless to speculate and as technology progresses, things could change anyway.

“You can’t have too many bikes"
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I can't help but think that if all the car manufacturers go their own way with battery cells, you can say goodbye to the 'one out/one in' battery swap. Just won't be feasible.

Impossible if the batteries are part of the structural build of the car.

Welcome to the Chinese way of doing things. And not just the Chinese. Design it so that it needs to be discarded and  completely replaced..

All we know is that when they stop making this, we will be properly, properly sad.Jeremy Clarkson on the Esprit.

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In all the Eletre youtube videos, they say that there will be a head-up display. Does anyone know, if this will also be able to navigate with an augmented reality function? Like the VW ID models or the EQS?

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On 25/06/2022 at 13:56, ramjet said:

I can't help but think that if all the car manufacturers go their own way with battery cells, you can say goodbye to the 'one out/one in' battery swap. Just won't be feasible.

Impossible if the batteries are part of the structural build of the car.

Welcome to the Chinese way of doing things. And not just the Chinese. Design it so that it needs to be discarded and  completely replaced..

Yes, in my mind, if batteries are becoming structural, and their integration is not consistent and/or standardised in the industry then clearly, the (assumed) goal for cleaner, sustainable vehicle manufacturing is impossible.  Perhaps the problem with the EV emergence is that (once the battery tech blueprints were available) it just got stuck in with the (very) end product.

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4 hours ago, Il fenomino said:

In all the Eletre youtube videos, they say that there will be a head-up display. Does anyone know, if this will also be able to navigate with an augmented reality function? Like the VW ID models or the EQS?

It is a little early for them to communicate on this type of info. However, I assume it would have access to the same tech or better than Zeekr 001 so I guess it could get an augmented reality layer in its  HUD  but it would also depend on What3words technology has to offer as they are Lotus technology supplier when it comes to navigation. Time will tell.

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Personally, I don't see inability to swap batteries as being any problem. It is a simplistic solution (conceptually, but almost impossible to implement) to a temporary problem. With Tesla claiming their batteries are already capable of over half a million miles of use and soon to be 1 million, why the obsession with swapping.

Tesla are nothing special in this regard and battery degradation will be much reduced or possibly eliminated with new battery tech. There's no fundamental law of this Universe that means batteries have to degrade. It's just inefficiencies of the technology that causes this and there's no reason to suppose that it cannot be virtually eliminated in the future.

CATL are already claiming their new tech (soon to be in production) has the potential to offer I think at least 600 km range and only about 10 mins to recharge to 80%. Not today, for sure, but we are only a few years away from such advances, so realistically, battery swapping is something of a dead end.

“You can’t have too many bikes"
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I think I read somewhere that Lotus uses this new CATL battery tech. It is also interesting as CATL has this battery swap technology called Chocobo or something like that. 

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On 11/07/2022 at 08:16, eUKenGB said:

Personally, I don't see inability to swap batteries as being any problem. It is a simplistic solution (conceptually, but almost impossible to implement) to a temporary problem. With Tesla claiming their batteries are already capable of over half a million miles of use and soon to be 1 million, why the obsession with swapping.

Tesla are nothing special in this regard and battery degradation will be much reduced or possibly eliminated with new battery tech. There's no fundamental law of this Universe that means batteries have to degrade. It's just inefficiencies of the technology that causes this and there's no reason to suppose that it cannot be virtually eliminated in the future.

CATL are already claiming their new tech (soon to be in production) has the potential to offer I think at least 600 km range and only about 10 mins to recharge to 80%. Not today, for sure, but we are only a few years away from such advances, so realistically, battery swapping is something of a dead end.

Battery swapping will be a thing but not on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Any laptop, or cellphone will have its battery die or degrade significantly over its lifespan, most people don't realise because they tend to change cellphones faster than they replace socks but a macbook, for example, needs its battery replaced every 5/6 years... so a car will probably get its battery replaced eventually.

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88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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When will it get to UK dealers for its roadshow...

Big place, have to sell a lot of cars to make some cash back.

Spread over an area of 1,526 acres, it is the first factory in the world for which 3D Digital technology was used for planning, development, and construction. It entailed a total investment of around 8 Billion Yuan (USD 1.18 Billion).

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2 hours ago, Bibs said:

Considering the "first" production car came off the line mid july and the car will not be officially released in Europe until January 2023. That leaves quite a lot of time to vet and re-vet every single processes and tune the suspensions, the interior fitment of the Eletre to the nth degree. The fitment on the prototype we saw was spot on and I'm guessing that with the Volvo, Lynk&Co, Polestar and Zeekr experiences the car will not leave a lot to be desired  in terms of perceived quality. the Lotus NYO  moniker.... i find annoying, i guess chinese owners will have to keep calling their cars luths instead of Lotis

Also... I guess this first new car means that they actually made their bid to start production in China in 2022! I knew the factory was operational, and had been for a while but I guess somebody high up really insisted on having car 1 or 0 ready before the fall. Which means they can build a little stockpile until january  and provide not only their chinese sales outlets but also  their dealer/agent network worldwide with demonstrators, should the procurement and shipping issues alleviate a bit.

 

Edited by NedaSay
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Lotus still seem to be the only company that is this far down the line with a new car and yet has said NOTHING about price. Obviously deliberate, but serves no useful function whatsoever and in my opinion is totally counter productive.

One can hazard a guess at most new cars, just based on a company's previous offerings. But Lotus are in the £50K - £2m range which makes it impossible to guess.

Is it simply arrogance and they are only aiming at customers for whom price is no object?

“You can’t have too many bikes"
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Haha, you won't catch me in China I'm afraid!! :D

 

88 Esprit NA, 89 Esprit Turbo SE, Evora, Evora S, Evora IPS, Evora S IPS, Evora S IPS SR, Evora 400, Elise S1, Elise S1 111s, Evora GT410 Sport

Evora NA

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1 hour ago, Bibs said:

You'll be very pleasantly surprised when the price is announced…

Can I hold you to that Bibs? 😄

“You can’t have too many bikes"
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9 hours ago, eUKenGB said:

Lotus still seem to be the only company that is this far down the line with a new car and yet has said NOTHING about price. Obviously deliberate, but serves no useful function whatsoever and in my opinion is totally counter productive.

One can hazard a guess at most new cars, just based on a company's previous offerings. But Lotus are in the £50K - £2m range which makes it impossible to guess.

Is it simply arrogance and they are only aiming at customers for whom price is no object?

I do not think it is arrogance. I assume the build of the car will command a premium over comparable Geely premium products (Zeekr, Emgrand and probably Volvo's Polestar) but their cost structure would still be super competitive. So the question for Lotus is, how aggressive can we go on pricing? A 90k or low 100k GBP/USD was floated at the unveil. I'm now wondering if the entry model won't be priced slightly under 90k. Not that it would necessarily be a good idea. But considering the Zeekr 001 top end price is below 60k in mainland China, and the cars do share their architecture and more ; one could ask how much the lotus moniker premium may command over there? Is it going to be worth a full 40k extra in a place that does not know the brand well yet ? Or will lotus decide to build its brand at a slightly lower price point than we in the west would expect... For the record the reservation slot for Eletre in China was priced just 570 USD! Emira is priced super aggressively, journos can't help themselves saying it is built as a sport car price but feels every bit like a supercar inside and out. Yes it is priced higher than a Cayman/Boxter  but it comes back in comparison with way more exotic make. So could Lotus pull another upset in the Luxury E-SUV segment?  I think the answer is, most certainly.

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Porsche Macan EV been in development for considerable time but they will not put a price to it until order books are officially opened. So don’t think that Lotus are doing anything unusual here. If they had held back on the order opening on the Emira I dare say it would now be considerably more expensive. Maybe in current times that’s a lesson learned ?

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I beg to differ, Lotus priced emira exactly where they wanted it at the bottom end, they wanted the car to be in the segment bracket.

Macan EV is still vaporware at this point, it has been spied, yes, but not unveiled, officially, so no point giving a pricing to something that officially does not exist yet.

Eletre was unveiled when it had reached its final phase of development and now its factory is open and "pre"production models are rolling down the line.

Edited by NedaSay
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Are these ones coming off the line pre-production cars or press cars or 'real' cars that will go on to the Chinese dealers as demos etc. If the latter then the Chinese price must be released very shortly.

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According to the Chinese press release this is a real car... However I do think this car is part of a preproduction run or validation run, probably the last one, as they have been at it for a while. The factory was fully fitted earlier in the year, they officially opened recently because of landscaping as one does.

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Looks a bit empty down the  line assuming that's the production line in China.

Just the 1 132 for sale.

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