Rimac and Lotus release electric hypercar test footage
Merry Christmas, lovers of exotic electric hypercars! Rimac and Lotus have released road and track footage, respectively, of two of the world's most powerful cars, both of which are set to roll out in 2020.
Rimac, for its part, is building 17 prototypes of its 1,914-horsepower, 2,300-Nm (1,696-lb-ft) C_Two, each with its own development and testing goals, to evaluate everything from chassis rigidity, to driving dynamics, to driver feel and handling – not to mention "high-performance autonomous driving," a concept that makes me want to nope my way back into the 1990s when nobody expected 200-mph (322-km/h) supercars to drive themselves.
It won't still be called the C_Two by the time its production version is unveiled in Geneva next March, either. Rimac says it's tweaked the design, the ergos and indeed the performance, so perhaps the Croatian company plans to knock Lotus off its perch as the most powerful production car in the world before it makes its first delivery.
Here's the prototype on the move:
And then there's Lotus, whose outrageous Evija promises a thunderous 1,972 horses. Well, maybe thunder-free is more to the point, since both of these cars will glide around next to silently and use no more power than a Nissan Leaf until you stick a boot into them.
The Evija's #2 engineering prototype has been filmed getting loose and sassy on track in the UK, disguised like the Rimac under a horrid paint job designed to hide aerodynamic or cosmetic exterior shapes either company might be experimenting with.
This prototype, says Lotus, has got "customer spec" versions of the suspension, brakes and bodywork, as well as the horrifying powertrain. It does not, however, have any electronic driver aids on board that might help mere mortals keep this raging beast pointed in roughly the right direction when the hammer drops.
Test driver (and Lotus' director of Attributes and Product Integrity) Gavan Kershaw explained the lack of traction and stability control thus: "The car is in a completely pure state at the moment, with no stability control or torque-vectoring. This is so we can evaluate the fundamentals of the chassis, to create the mechanical advantage before the other layers, such as the electronics, are added. It means we can really read the car. Later we can tune what we’ve gained as a mechanical advantage as we add layers. It’s the Lotus way – get the fundamentals right from the start and use baseline aerodynamics, suspension kinematics and geometry to feel the vehicle’s response."
Kershaw says he feels very much at home in the new prototype, and that the key goals at this stage are to evaluate things like how the throttle mappings might facilitate both safe, comfortable driving and all-out lunacy, how the steering should respond to inputs across a broad range of speeds, what kind of torque split should there be between the front and rear wheels under load, and how the driving ergonomics stack up.
All of which sounds very sensible, but he also gets bulk sideways in the following video, so he's clearly "'avin' a bit of a larf" as well, as the English would say.