Both companies plan to “redesign electric vehicle ownership.”
Lotus named its first electric car as Evija with a message in mind. It comes from Eve, which means "the first in existence." That means Lotus aims to sell a lot more EVs in the future. All of them will be compatible with smart grids. That is what Lotus says about its joint efforts with Centrica, which classifies itself as "an international energy services and solutions business" that is a parent company to British Gas. Both companies promise to "redesign electric vehicle ownership," and, among these measures, smart grid use is probably the most important.
Lotus and Centrica also aim to create "a new global charging and energy infrastructure for new products," probably similar to Tesla Superchargers. The companies also want to decarbonize Lotus' operations worldwide and mention a "new, flexible platform designed to power a future digital mobility lifestyle." We have no idea what that means, and the release also does not explain that, so we will wait for future releases to have that in more detail.
The main point of the joint press release is to say that Lotus' EVs will be compatible with smart grids without mentioning them a single time. All the publication says is that the companies will make the cars "an extension of the home, capable of storing electricity, minimizing emissions, and generating new income by providing services to the energy market," – which is what smart grids do.
Electric cars can charge at times when the energy is cheaper – after midnight, for example. They can give that energy back to the grid when it is more expensive, earning the EV owner some money in the process. With that backup from electric cars, the power grid may not have to start thermal power plants, avoiding emissions.
The issue with smart grids is that they may make car batteries last much less than they usually would by feeding just the motors of their EVs. Can the money owners receive for helping the grid cover the cost of a battery pack replacement? Nissan already had issues with that. We hope Lotus has that in mind for all its future electric cars, including the "first in existence," the Evija.
Lotus and Centrica agree partnership to redesign electric vehicle ownership
- A new model of integrating connected vehicles, connected homes and connected customers is being developed
- New, flexible platform designed to power a future digital mobility lifestyle
- New global sustainability programme targets net-zero carbon across Lotus operations
Centrica plc, the parent company of British Gas, and British motor manufacturer Lotus are working together to develop a new model for electric vehicle ownership that fully integrates future mobility and energy.
By making the car an extension of the home, capable of storing electricity, minimising emissions and generating new income by providing services to the energy market, the companies aim to redefine the customer relationship with cars – one controlled by smart devices at home and on the move.
The energy company will also facilitate a sustainability program that leverages innovative, low carbon technologies, and helps mitigate the environmental impact of everything from manufacturing through to sales and the day-to-day activities of Lotus employees, helping meet Lotus’ carbon reduction aspirations.
The new partnership will help establish a new global charging and energy infrastructure for new products as part of Lotus’ journey to net-zero carbon following huge investment into the business since 2018.
Centrica Group CEO Chris O’Shea said: “We are committed to helping our customers and communities achieve net-zero and to do so, we must enable the change to electric vehicles. We have the technology, the skills and the scale to do this and our partnership with Lotus is another step in bringing our commitment to life.”
Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said: “Our journey to net-zero carbon is absolutely lock-in-step with the Vision80 strategy for Lotus – taking us to eighty years of the business in 2028. By then we will have transformed Lotus into a truly global player in the high-performance high-technology sector with a new range of cars that remain true to our fundamental promise of always being ‘For The Drivers’. The difference is the energy and infrastructure that will power and support these products in the future – this new partnership demonstrates the progress being made and the ambition of our vision.”
Carl Bayliss, Vice President of Centrica Innovations, said: “Owning an electric vehicle isn’t the same as owning an internal combustion engine car. We see a future where the customer, car and home are connected, enabling new services beyond charging the car, and new products and experiences replacing the unremarkable standard relationship with energy and the ownership of a car today.
“Lotus is the perfect partner as we embark on this, given the recognition and appeal of the brand globally and the fact that it is right at the beginning of its electrification journey.”
Uday Senapati, Executive Director, Corporate Strategy for Lotus, added: “Centrica brings a wealth of energy sector expertise to the table that will not only help us to determine the right course for our mobility strategy, but the hands-on capability to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place globally. The future of mobility is a huge opportunity for providing value-added services to the consumer and this platform will put Lotus at the forefront of that digital mobility ecosystem.
“We have set ambitious targets for decarbonising both our vehicles and our operations. Given the rate of change required and the importance of getting it right first time, the support of our strategic partner Centrica is going to be vital.”
Production of the all-electric Lotus Evija hypercar will start at the company’s famous Hethel, Norfolk HQ later in 2020 – marking the start of Lotus’ journey to electrifying its growing range of vehicles.
Notes to editors
The new strategic partnership sees the two companies embark on a multi-work-stream strategy together, covering:
- A dedicated Lotus EV Energy strategy
- Charging infrastructure serving Lotus’ global network and customers
- De-carbonisation strategy for Lotus operations globally
- A breakthrough new energy product and platform integrating connected vehicles, homes and customers to support the growth in digital mobility lifestyle