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Geely to enter European charging through Lotus
The Chinese firm’s UK heritage brand will also develop Chinese and Middle Eastern charging networks
Lotus, the sportscar brand majority-owned by Chinese automotive conglomerate Geely, will begin rollout of a new superfast EV charging network across Europe and the Middle East in the second quarter of next year to complement a Chinese network already under development.
The firm promises ultra-fast 450kW DC chargers, which it says can add up to 88.5 miles, or 142 km, of range to its Lotus Eletre R e-SUV in only around five minutes of charge “making it one of the most competitive electric vehicle chargers”. A 10-to-80-pc charge can be achieved in just 20 minutes, with a range extension of 74 miles, or 120km from a 5-minute charge when using a 350 kW rapid charger, it further promises.
It is also aiming to install modular units for charging up to four vehicles at once and modular power cabinets power output capabilities of up to 480 kW — suitable for spaces that require high energy in order to increase efficiency and minimise charging time, such as motorway rest stops.
“Over the past six years, Lotus has been investing in the technology and infrastructure to accelerate the transition to electrification. We want to make it easier than ever to own an EV and with our latest offerings, Lotus is able to provide customers with the confidence to access easy, fast, and efficient charging,” says Mike Johnstone, chief commercial officer at Lotus Group.
“As more governments are increasing investment into electrification in their journey to net-zero, the demand for a reliable EV charging infrastructure has never been higher than before. Lotus has developed best-in-class fast charging solutions to deliver a quick and reliable charging experience to meet customer needs,” adds Alan Wang, vice-president of Lotus Technology and CEO at Lotus Flash Charge.
Lotus Technology is the EV arm of Lotus and,while it is in the process of completing a Spac that would see it lost on th e US Nasdaq exchange, it is headquartered in Wuhan, China. Geely will remain its largest shareholder with a limited free float.
And that should serve as a reminder that, in effect, this launch is of Chinese charging technology coming to Europe under a familiar UK automotive brand.
Lotus has a target of being all-electric by 2028, with charging included in its vision. The company launched the Eletre as its first BEV in 2022, with first customer deliveries in the UK, Europe and China this year. In early September, it debuted its Emeya e-grand tourer.
The firm reports “huge demand” for its products, with an order book of over 19,000 vehicles. But that includes its gasoline-powered Emira sports car (which it somewhat paradoxically includes as a step in its all-electric by 2028 strategy), as well as the Eletre. It boasts of record-breaking first half of 2023 in terms of production, and expects the full year to surpass all previous years.
Lotus is just one plank in Geely’s ambitions for the European EV market, It also holds substantial stakes in Swedish OEMs Volvo Cars and Polestar and a half-share in Smart with Germany’s Mercdes. And it is ramping up European imports of its Chinese EV brands including Lynk & Co and Zeekr.