Last year, Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales confirmed that a new Elise would debut in 2020 and it would be vastly similar to the current model. That was before it was bought by Chinese automaker Geely. Now, that Lotus could take a different approach with the next Elise thanks to the influx of cash and opportunities brought by Geely. We'll have a better idea of Lotus' intentions next spring when it finalizes its new-model plan.
Gales told Top Gear that Lotus is currently reviewing all of its future plans following Geely's acqusition, but was quick to point out that a new Elise is still on its way. Well, kind of.
"The Elise isn’t cancelled. Certainly not," said Gales. "But now we will be able to do something different, improved. It might not be called Elise. Everything is up for discussion. Not one new sports car, a few. Whatever we planned to do will become better."
Gales then gets into talk about how corporate synergies with Lotus' new Geely stablemate, Volvo, might help build a better sports car.
"The team here needs to think bigger, on a new global perspective. Geely says ‘What can we do? Where can we go?’ Imagine what we can do with Volvo’s 48-volt mild hybrid, for torque and lightness. Imagine an electric turbo and three-cylinder engine. It lightens the car, so we might change the whole chassis."
Top Gear posits that given Gales' comments, the current Elise might be kept in production beyond 2020, when Lotus originally planned to launch its replacement. That would mean US customers might have to wait a little longer for a new Elise than what was initially forecasted. It could be worth it, though.
Since Gales took over Lotus in 2014, the company has rolled out better, lighter, and faster versions of its existing models, and we've been really impressed with the results. Last year, the Evora 400 was runner-up to the Acura NSX in our Performance Car of the Year test. Top Gear also notes that Gales is "steeped" in Lotus history, with an understanding of what defines the company's greatest cars.
Like it did with Volvo, Geely will open up a lot of doors for Lotus. We're incredibly excited to see what the future holds for this brand, especially the beloved Elise.
Maybe don't change the name, though? We like Elise too much.