Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Neither. It’s Lotus’ new E-R9 concept – a machine which you half drive, half fly… apparently. The E-R9, standing for Endurance Racer, has been developed as a design concept by Lotus Engineering as a way of giving a glimpse of an all-electric endurance racing future. Finished in the marque’s famous black and gold colours, it incorporates a central fighter jet-style canopy over the cockpit and a mass of active body panels promising to revolutionise aerodynamics. It will be four-wheel drive thanks to a quad of electric motors and has been designed to allow batteries to be ‘hot swapped’ – or rapidly replaced – during pitstops.
The concept also wears the number nine, in deference to the aluminium-bodied Lotus Mk IX with which Colin Chapman and Ron Flockhart first tackled Le Mans in 1955. Should it make the grid for 2030 as suggested, the E-R9 would celebrate the 75th anniversary of such an event.
Richard Hill, Lotus chief aerodynamicist, said: “We’ve tried to push the boundaries of where we are technically today and extrapolate into the future. The E-R9 incorporates technologies which we fully expect to develop and be practical. This will be partly driven like a car, partly flown like a fighter jet. Lotus has an amazing history of developing unique solutions.”