Not that long ago, 500 hp was regarded as a plentiful quantity for even the most potent performance car. But we now find ourselves in an age of hypercar hyperinflation which will rise exponentially as the new wave of new-age mega-EVs arrive. This late Lotus Evija prototype was running a restricted power output on the day I drove it, with the peak across its four electric motors limited to just over 1600 hp. Or, in old-fashioned combustion equivalents, one Chiron Super Sport. The production Evija will have nearly 2000 hp.
The prototype was missing some other stuff. It didn’t have the finished car’s active aerodynamics, active suspension, or ability to bias torque across its axles, and its front-to-rear torque split was also arbitrarily locked to the equivalent of 23:77. It also had a 140 mph speed limiter, which was reached early enough on the longest straight of Lotus’s Hethel test track and had me drumming my fingers on the wheel like a bored race driver. Of more concern, given the potency of its powertrain and the chilly temperatures on the day of my drive, the prototype also lacked any form of stability management or traction control. Lotus prefers to perfect a basic set-up and then add assistance rather than relying on systems to cover deficiencies; this sounds noble and proper until you’re facing the prospect of track-biased Trofeo R tires and low-40º asphalt.
Even short of its full glory, the Evija was still adjective-snappingly fast. Almost painfully so, with full-bore acceleration producing what was pretty much an inversion of the G-loading of a frontal impact. But the big revelation of my first stint on track was that the spiffy new zero-emissions type of horsepower are very different from the angry, gasoline-fuelled horsepower that previously dominated this segment. Silent progress suits most regular EVs well; they have simply taken the final step in the long process of evolving the ICE engine out of existence. But in a hypercar it feels deeply strange to go so quickly while making so little fuss, without the sound and fury that normally comes with such accelerative forces, without the punctuation of whipcrack gearchanges. For the full story, check out this article from Road & Track.