Lotus says that the tie-up with Alpine to develop an electric sports car for the French brand will help accelerate its push towards electrification. The British sports car maker said the joint venture will also bump up its own product development in this area.

Speaking to AFP, Uday Senepati, the company’s executive director corporate strategy and product management, said the partnership will play on the strengths of both companies. “We have a great expertise in motor sports, they have great expertise in aerodynamic powertrains with lots of electrification on race tracks. Formula One is another area that we are exploring, but this is not the main focus,” he said.

He said that the companies are partnering on several aspects, with the main area being the development of an all-electric sports car chassis that will be done by Lotus. This, he explained, will yield new products from Hethel in faster fashion.

“It will give us our line of sports car in the middle of this decade, and we will be looking at launching a new electric sports car on this platform,” he told the news agency, adding that the carmaker was intent on becoming a full electric brand eventually. The company is also reportedly set to introduce a new all-electric SUV, codenamed Lambda, sometime in 2022.

Senapati said the co-operation deal with Alpine is driven by a need to share supply chains and production facilities, which will offset supply-chain delays that have come about following the UK’s recent exit from the EU’s single market and customs union.

“The partnership with Renault will work well since Renault has got a big supply-chain footprint, and this partnership will help us. With Renault we have access to its industrial footprint as well in Europe, if needed,” he said.

He added that the partnerships were crucial in a changed landscape. “2021 is going to be extremely challenging for the industry. We have to work together to brace for those challenges. If you want to battle a crisis yourself you are going be in trouble. Partnerships are going to be key and Lotus has a history of partnerships. We are open to more,” he said.

Senepati also provided an update on the Evija. It was reported last August that customer deliveries of the electric sports car – which made its dynamic debut at Goodwood in October – had been delayed by a minimum of five months due to testing programme disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it looks like buyers will have to continue being patient.

“There have been challenges with the launch of the Evija and testing the car with the travel restrictions. The car has to be developed by testing it across the globe. It’ll go into production and commercialisation this year,” he said.