Engineering

Comparing the Lotus Evija to other cars is 'like comparing a fighter jet to a child's kite'

The Lotus Evija is a forthcoming all-electric hypercar.

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars

It's sleek and sophisticated. It's also slippery. The Lotus Evija is the first-ever British all-electric hypercar, and it's here to make a statement.

That statement, in large part, is thanks to the car's sophisticated aerodynamics. Richard Hill is a senior engineer with 30 years of experience the brand working on everything from road cars to race cars. As the Chief Engineer of Aerodynamics and Thermal Management at Lotus, he is responsible for making the Evija as slippery as possible.

Lotus Evija

Photo courtesy of Lotus Cars


During a recent interview, Hill shared the vision behind the sleek Evija's design and compared it to the competition.

The overall philosophy in designing the Evija was to do what happens with most new cars, especially supercars, "It's about keeping the airflow low and flat at the front and guiding it through the body to emerge high at the rear. Put simply, it transforms the whole car into an inverted wing to produce that all-important dynamic downforce."

That downforce and the car's technical details are extraordinary says Hill. When asked how the Evija compares to regular sports cars, he replied: "It's like comparing a fighter jet to a child's kite.'' He went further, "Most cars have to punch a hole in the air, to get through using brute force, but the Evija is unique because of its porosity. The car literally 'breathes' the air. The front acts like a mouth; it ingests the air, sucks every kilogram of value from it – in this case, the downforce – then exhales it through that dramatic rear end."

McLaren designed Evija's splitter into three sections. The large central area provides cool air to the battery pack, which is mounted at the car's midpoint, similar to where Audi keep the V12 in its R8. The splitter minimizes the amount of air allowed under the vehicle, which reduces drag, making the car more aerodynamic. It also works to generate downforce.

At the back of the car are Venturi tunnels. Named for Giovanni Battista Venturi, an Italian physicist who first published on them in 1797, Venturi tunnels on the Evija work to reduce the pressure on the car and cut drag. Hill says, "Think of it this way; without them the Evija would be like a parachute but with them it's a butterfly net, and they make the car unique in the hypercar world."

To make the car stick even more to the road, there's a rear wing. It gets deployed into the "clean air" above the car helping the rear wheels stay planted. Lotus has also equipped the car with an F1-style Drag Reduction System, which is a horizontal plane mounted centrally at the rear. This helps the car achieve higher speeds, quicker.

Even the car's chassis plays a part. "The chassis a single piece of moulded carbon fibre for exceptional strength, rigidity and safety," said Hill. "The underside is sculpted to force the airflow through the rear diffuser and into the Evija's wake, causing an 'upwash' and the car's phenomenal level of downforce."

Official coefficient of drag and speed numbers are forthcoming. The model is projected to achieve over 200 mph.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The Maserati Nettuno engine is the first one developed by Maserati in decades.

Photo courtesy of Maserati

Maserati is in the midst of a redo. The brand is reshaping its image, starting with its allegiance to its home country of Italy. For months, the automaker, a division of FCA, has been pushing has on the message that its future is fully Italian, despite the looming merger between its American-Italian owner and the French PSA Groupe.

The next step in its product plans was to shift development and production of its engines to Italy. The Maserati Nettuno is the result of a team of Maserati technicians and engineers working at the Maserati Innovation Lab on Via Emilia Ovest and the workshops on Via Delle Nazioni to design the engine. It was developed at the Engine Hub, located at the Viale Ciro Menotti address where it will be built.

Maserati Nettuno engine

Photo courtesy of Maserati


Maserati's new engine is a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder unit with V90-degree architecture. It's capable of delivering 621 horsepower at 7500 rpm and 538 pound-feet of torque from 3000 rpm.

The engine features a dry sump pump and has an 11:1 compression ratio. The stroke is 82 mm and the bore 88 mm.

The Italian automaker says the that "soul of the engine" its its pre-chamber combustion system that features twin-spark plugs. The chamber is set between the central electrode and traditional combustion chamber and connected by a series of specially-designed holes. The lateral spark plug is traditional in its action.

This technology is derived from Formula One use and will make its debut in a passenger car this autumn.

The twin-injection system is linked to the fuel supply pressure at 350 bar, working to reduce noise in the low rev range, which lowers emissions.

Maserati has lowered the traditional development time of an engine by utilizing virtual analysis via the Innovation Lab.

The engine will be employed first in the Maserati MC20, which is set to bring Maserati back to the world of racing. It is expected to debut in September.

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This photo of the Nikola Badger greets customers on the company's website.

Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

The Nikola Badger, without ever being given a thorough once-over by the public (even in prototype form), is bringing in 1,500 reservations per day in the dawn of product's open-for-businenss timeline according to Trevor Milton, Founder and Executive Chairman of Nikola Corporation.

This week on Twitter, Milton divulged the reservation numbers, as well as Nikola's plans for the marketing rollout of the model. On August 24, the company will show off photos of the truck's interior. The public will see the truck's frame, batteries, and axles on September 21. Mid-October, teaser photos of the truck "in the wild" will be released and one month later video of the full truck will be published.

Then, on December 3-5, the Nikola Badge makes it big debut as part of #NikolaWorld2020.

Milton went further, engaging with Nikola enthusiasts inviting them to have input on which version of the truck he drives onto the stage as part of the debut- one in black or blue?

Nikola is selling battery-electric (BEV) and fuel cell electric (FCEV) versions of the midsize truck. Badger BEV starts at $60,000 and has a 300-mile range. Badger FCEV models are fueled by hydrogen, have a 600-mile range and start at $80,000.

Buyers can choose from three packages for each vehicle: Honey, Predator, or Instinct. Honey requires a $5,000 deposit and gets you one of the first models off the assembly line. It is signed by Milton. Additionally, buyers received $5,000 off the purchase price of their vehicle (Nikola matches the deposit), two backstage meet-and-greet passes for Nikola World 2020, and 25 entries in a Badger giveaway contest. The deposit is fully refundable. If the purchaser uses the passes before asking for a refund, the forfeit the $250 value of the passes.

The Predator package sells for $1,000. It includes $1,000 off the purchase price of their vehicle (Nikola matches the deposit), two tickets to Nikola World 2020, and five entries in a Badger giveaway contest. The deposit is fully refundable. If the purchaser uses the passes before asking for a refund, the forfeit the $250 value of the passes.

Nikola's Instinct package is structured similarly and is priced at $250. It features a Nikola-matched $250 off the purchase price of their vehicle, one ticket to Nikola World 2020, and one entry in a Badger giveaway contest. The deposit is fully refundable. If the purchaser uses the passes before asking for a refund, the forfeit the $250 value of the passes.

The Honey Badger packages is sold out with around 1,000 reservations taken. Milton says that sales have so far netted around $100 million in future revenue. According to his tweet thread, Milton is also publicly committing to being transparent regarding sales figures. something that chief rival Tesla has not done regarding Cybertruck reservations.

Nikola Badger interior Nikola released this rendering of the interior of the Badger last year. Photo courtesy of Nikola Corporation

According to data received by Finbold.com, reservations for the Tesla Cybertruck amount to more than the total number of vehicles the company made in 2018 and 2019, combined.

Production of both vehicle is slated to begin in 2021. Meanwhile, GMC has plans to put its Hummer all-electric truck on sale around the same time and an EV version of the Ford F-150 is on a similar timeline.

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