British sports car maker Lotus is to phase out all new petrol models from next year as it shifts to a fully electrified line-up of vehicles.
The 74-year-old business said it will be the first established sports car maker to drop petrol models after it announced the Emira will be the last to be powered by a combustion engine.
Matt Windle, managing director at Lotus Cars, said: “All new mainstream vehicles from Lotus from 2023 will be fully electric. It means Lotus will become the first established sports car maker in the world to have a fully electrified product range.”
It comes ahead of a looming Government ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 as Boris Johnson races to meet the UK’s net zero targets.
Lord Grimstone, the investment minister, said: “It is brilliant to see Lotus, a truly iconic UK car brand, leading on the transition to cleaner transport.
“I look forward to seeing Lotus continue to innovate and combine electrification with high performance”.
Lotus, which is owned by Chinese automotive giant Geely, unveiled an all-electric SUV earlier this year, the Eletre, and it will be joined by a four-door sports sedan later this year. This will be followed by a second SUV in 2025 and a lightweight sports car in 2026, the company said.
Mr Windle said the company was facing soaring costs including energy bills and raw materials and warned some customers were facing delays to orders amid supply chain issues which have blighted the industry. However, he said that customers waiting on existing orders would be protected from any future price rises.
Mr Windle said: “We have committed to holding the price of everybody that’s got an order on sports cars at the moment.
We’re seeing a small delay in delivery of those cars expected this month, it’s going to start next month.
“We felt it was the right thing to do to commit to that price. So that’s gone down very well.”
In December it was revealed Geely, which took a controlling stake in Lotus five years ago with an £100m investment, loaned the sports car maker another £155m in 2020 as losses quadrupled.
That year it posted a £56m loss, up from £14m a year earlier, with sales dropping by £14m to £82m. It was forced to close factories for 10 weeks during the pandemic.
The Chinese group owned by billionaire Li Shufu has invested billions of pounds in the British car brand, including a major overhaul of its headquarters on a former RAF base at Hethel, Norfolk.
The company left the door open for short run petrol prototypes in the future, but it said production models would end petrol usage before 2030.