Is this the future for EV chassis architecture?

Jon Lawson

While some manufacturers are adapting existing models to take electric power, Lotus has decided to develop something entirely new from the ground up to accommodate the changing weight distribution pattern.

Part of Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture) created last year, the new chassis is being referred to by the company as “the ‘blueprint’ for the next generation of electric sports cars, for future Lotus products and for the Lotus Engineering consultancy to commercialise.”

It’s adaptable in different modes, the ‘chest’ layout, putting the cells vertically behind the seats, or the ‘slab’ layout where the cells are integrated horizontally under the cabin. The former is for low slung sporty models, while the latter is for taller vehicles with a high ride height. 

Power options start at 350kW and go up to 650 kW for a 2+2. It features cylindrical battery cells for high energy density, with the option of a single or twin electronic drive unit (EDU). Richard Rackham, Head of Vehicle Concepts is project leader. A veteran of the Elise design, he notes, “Project LEVA is as revolutionary now as the Elise architecture was in 1996. In true Lotus spirit, significant weight savings have been achieved throughout, with a focus on ultimate performance, efficiency and safety being engineered into the structure from the outset – for example, by utilising the vehicle structure as the battery enclosure, having an integrated EDU, eliminating bolt-on subframes and optimising the multi-link suspension components.”

As well as hoping to work with other manufacturers to commercialise the platform, Lotus has confirmed the launch its own EV, the Type 135, for 2026.


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