Customer deliveries of the Lotus Evija have been delayed by a minimum of five months due to delays in its testing programme caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Autocar has reported. The first cars were originally slated to reach their customers by the end of this year, however this will now take place within the first half of 2021, the magazine reported.

The delay was caused by lockdowns, travel restrictions and quarantines, and the sports car maker has not been able to test its prototypes in the variety of conditions required. “We have lost five months of testing, mainly in continental Europe. We have missed hot weather testing in Spain. It’s not as simple as moving everything to the right as you have to book facilities and there’s a queue, with everyone in the same boat,” Lotus CEO Phil Popham said.

Potential testing venues for the Evija remain a ‘moving target’, and Lotus is catching up to lost time, though it already has invested in extra engineering resource to get the Evija closer to production readiness, the magazine reported.

Popham could not rule out further delays as the global situation with regard to the pandemic is still evolving, though the CEO said that being open and honest with the five-month delay was fair and right for is customers, given that Lotus has lost five months of testing.

That said, Lotus has also taken the opportunity to redirect its focus towards development in other areas, and this has enabled the firm to improve the Evija’s aerodynamics and downforce. The British sports car maker has also found during this time that its first fully electric model is actually capable of delivering more than 2,027 PS, rather than the 2,000 PS as quoted at its unveiling last July.

There are 70 potential customers that Lotus is in discussions with, many of whom are already deposit holders for the Evija, which has been planned for a 130-unit production run. In March, a world tour to show the car to potential customers had to be delayed when the pandemic broke out in Europe and North America, however events in these regions are now being reorganised, Autocar reported.

The Evija is the company’s first completely new car since the Evora – of which the most recent development is the Evora GT410 – and the first to be developed under the stewardship of Geely.

Further along Lotus’ future product plan, the firm also has an all-new sports car in the works, and this will be positioned alongside the Elise, Exige and the aforementioned Evora in its line-up. The forthcoming all-new development is in a different stage of development from the Evija, Autocar reports, and this has yet to be affected by the pandemic as the fully electric hypercar has.

GALLERY: Lotus Evija