It’s the final working weeks of the year for many people, but not the dedicated Lotus engineers delivering the thrilling Evija all-electric hypercar. The ongoing testing and validation programme continues apace, with teams in action simultaneously at opposite ends of Europe… and at very different speeds.
During December they were in southern Italy, at the world-famous Nardo test track, taking the Evija up towards its top speed of more than 200mph. The reason was to complete a variety of validation tests to ensure the traction control and torque vectoring systems are seamlessly integrated with the underlying chassis and aerodynamic package. Pirelli was also there, fine-tuning the bespoke Trofeo tyres developed especially for the Evija. Numerous tyres, each very slightly different, was assessed for steering, grip and braking performance.
James Hazlehurst, lead vehicle dynamics engineer on Evija and part of the test team at Nardo, said the car felt very secure as it lapped the iconic 7.8-mile circular track. “All of the aerodynamic design work on the car, everything we’ve done on our full vehicle simulator back at Hethel tuning the springs and dampers, all the powertrain development – it came together as we’d anticipated at Nardo and we’re really happy with the results.”
Meanwhile, almost 1,200 miles north-west of Nardo in the city of London, the Evija caused something of a stir during over two nights earlier this month. It took to urban roads for vital validation of its wifi and GPS location systems, which allows it to be certified to include Apple’s CarPlay system for smartphone connectivity.
Almost 500 miles of driving were completed on roads around central London, the M25 motorway and parts of Essex. The hours of darkness are better as there’s less traffic, plus it allows the Evija’s striking exterior to create some fantastic shadows under the glare of other drivers’ headlights… and smartphones held by their passengers. Even though it was quiet, the test drivers reported seeing plenty of camera flashes from other vehicles and stunned pedestrians.
Mark Edwards, Executive Director, Programme Management Office, Lotus, commented: “It’s a great end to the year for the Lotus Evija. The team will be spending a well-earned break with their families and friends over Christmas, then we’re back into the next stages of the validation programme in the new year as we move towards full production of the first customer cars during 2022.”