Lotus marks the end of the 3E era

Lotus is marking the end of production of the Elise, Exige and Evora with the three final examples of each line heading for the brands growing heritage collection.

In 26 years more than 51,738 “3E” cars have come off the production line. Combined, they represent almost half of the total production of Lotus in its 73-year history. 

In addition, 9715 sports cars were built for Lotus’ third-party clients, including GM and Tesla.

Joining the Lotus Heritage collection will be the last Elise, a Sport 240 Final Edition finished in Yellow and the last of 35,124 cars; the last Exige, a Cup 430 Final Edition in Heritage Racing Green – number 10,497; and the last Evora – a GT430 Sport finished in Dark Metallic Grey – the last of a production run of 6117.

From 1996 to 2000, the first-generation Elise and Exige sports cars were built in a small assembly hall at Hethel alongside the Lotus Esprit. The current assembly lines, which were installed in 2000, will be dismantled and replaced with all-new state-of-the-art facilities in support of the all-new Emira factory. 

Full Emira production begins in the European spring, after the prototype and test phases currently underway are completed, taking Lotus sports car production into an exciting, high-tech and semi-automated era, and increasing capacity up to 5000 units per year on a single shift pattern.

The Elise and Exige sports cars are built around the Lotus ‘small car platform’. On the same platform, and also manufactured by Lotus at Hethel were the Opel Speedster / Vauxhall VX220 (7,200 cars built between 2000 and 2005) and the Tesla Roadster (2,515 cars built between 2007 and 2012). Therefore, including the Lotus 340R, Europa, 2-Eleven and 3-Eleven cars, this brings the total Lotus small car platform production volumes to 56,618 cars.

The elder of the ‘3Es’ trio, the Elise, has been part of the automotive landscape for more than 25 years. 

Next out of the Lotus stable is the Emira, the critically acclaimed new mid-engineered sports car from Lotus. 

Launched last July at Hethel and on a world tour ever since, it’s the last petrol-powered car from Lotus. Joining the first electric Lotus – the Evija hypercar and the most powerful production car in the world – will be the all-electric Type 132, Lotus’ first SUV, which will be revealed to the world in the spring.

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