Lotus has released a design study that imagines what electric endurance race cars could look like by the end of the decade.
The wild E-R9 is what the British firm believes could be on track in 2030, featuring a fighter jet-style canopy and advanced active aerodynamics.
Although designed as a fantasy technology showcase for Lotus Engineering, the firm’s consultancy arm, the E-R9 has features that are not as far-fetched as its looks might suggest.
Countries around the world are working to phase out combustion-engined cars, with the UK ruling that new petrol and diesel vehicles cannot be sold after 2030. Therefore, the E-R9 gets an electric powertrain, with a motor for each wheel, using technology from the firm’s new Evija electric hypercar.
Louis Kerr, principal platform engineer for the Evija, said: “Battery energy density and power density are developing significantly year on year.
“Before 2030, we’ll have mixed cell chemistry batteries that give the best of both worlds, as well as the ability to ‘hot-swap’ batteries during pit stops.”
— lotuscars (@lotuscars) February 16, 2021
The E-R9 will also have ‘morphing’ aerodynamics, where panels can move to reduce drag on straights and then provide maximum downforce in corners. This is already available in basic forms on cars such as the Lamborghini Huracan Performante, so advancements in this area are not far away.
It also gets vertical control surfaces at the rear, which Lotus says allows it to improve direction changes without worrying about grip at the tyre, making it “partly driven like a car and partly flown like a fighter jet”.
Richard Hill, chief aerodynamicist at Lotus, said: “What we’ve tried to do is to push the boundaries of where we are technically today and extrapolate into the future. The Lotus E-R9 incorporates technologies which we fully expect to develop and be practical. Lotus has an amazing history of developing unique solutions, and we’ve done it many times in motorsport and with our road cars.”