Last month, Lotus revealed the all-electric platform for its next generation of sports cars, developed under Project LEVA (Lightweight Electric Vehicle Architecture). Now, Autocar is shedding light on the first model to be built on the new underpinnings – an entry-level two-seater offering widely tipped to be the spiritual successor to the departing Elise.

The new platform, initially dubbed E-Sports, will be made available in different layouts to suit a variety of vehicles and has been designed to offset the weight of a battery pack, with the rear structure being some 37% lighter than the one on the Emira V6. The new car, codenamed Type 135, will spawn a twin from Alpine, which will eventually replace the A110.

Sounds exciting, but we’ll be waiting quite a while for these cars to come out – Lotus only expects the Type 135 to be launched sometime in 2026. The performance should be worth the wait, however, as even this base model will have as much as 350 kW (469 hp), which will come as quite a shock to those used to the Elise’s 240 hp in top trim.

The car will utilise the platform’s “chest” configuration, which places the stacked 66.4 kWh battery (that Autocar estimates will provide a range of around 480 km) behind the seats, giving the car a weight distribution akin to a mid-engined car. A longer version enables the fitment of a larger 99.6 kWh battery and twin electric motors, delivering all-wheel drive and an astonishing total output of 650 kW (872 hp).

According the Lotus’ managing director Matt Windle, this layout offers “the yaw control and stability that we’re used to setting cars up around” and provide a “sports car feel.” It also allows the seat to be mounted as low as possible like the Elise, whereas the 2+2 variant (which places the 66.4 kWh “slab” battery under the seats) raises the seat height by some 100 mm.

The structure really is all new, with a bulkhead and front end also unrelated to those used on the Emira. Even so, Windle said that Lotus’ renown ride and handling prowess will be carried over to the new cars.

“It’s our DNA. Dynamics, aerodynamics, lightweighting, that’s what we do on all our products,” he said. “We still want these to be Lotus products. They are going to have a different propulsion system but that system comes with benefits as well – instant torque, easier cooling and better packaging – so the first sports car will have a lot of storage and packaging benefits as well.”

Lotus is also keen on incorporating elements of its 2,000 hp Evija on its future models, such as aerodynamic aids “running through the car,” similar to the hypercar’s massive Venturi tunnels. Windle also said that the Hethel doesn’t “want to close off the possibility” of offering a similar torque-vectoring system on lesser cars.

The architecture will also feature an 800-volt electrical architecture to support the highest levels of DC fast charging currently available and will take advantage of Geely’s parts bin to lower costs. Still, the Type 135 probably won’t be able to hit the Elise’s price range, which tops out at £50,900 (RM288,600). Even with a “significant price drop” in materials and components, Windle expects the car to retail around the top end of the Exige lineup, suggesting a price range of between £80,000 (RM453,600) and £100,000 (RM567,100).

Lotus will also be expanding its model range with a range of electric “lifestyle” vehicles, including the Type 132 SUV, Type 133 four-door coupé and Type 134 crossover. These will arrive earlier than the sports cars, with the first due to go into production in a new plant in Wuhan, China sometime next year.