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