Lotus Day 2023: first production Eletre cars presented to customers
Lotus Day 2023 saw the first production Eletre Hyper-SUVs presented to customers at a spectacular event at Shanghai International F1 Circuit in China.
Hundreds of customers and special guests attended an evening of dynamic displays, a historical line-up and a special replica Cessna jet – inspired by the iconic Colin Chapman photograph from 1979.
The Chapman family was represented in China by Classic Team Lotus managing director, Clive Chapman. He addressed the audience at the Shanghai circuit and spoke about the extraordinary achievements of his parents, how Colin Chapman’s mantra was to ‘put the fun in to motoring’ and how many special memories resulted from that over 75 great years of history. He closed by saying: “Amazingly, 2023 will be the best of those 75 years!”
This short film is about the week of activities in China marking the start of the 75th anniversary celebrations and the first deliveries of Eletre to customers. The film shows the new Lotus brand store and commercial head office in the heart of Shanghai, highlights from the Lotus Day celebrations and a tour of the brand new Wuhan EV production centre.
Also joining the celebrations was Lotus enthusiast and customer, Jenson Button, who served as CEO Mr Feng’s driver in an Emira V6 in an event that was, above all, For The Drivers. Jenson also took the opportunity to drive laps of the F1 circuit in an Eletre which brought back memories of his 12 F1 visits to the circuit with several podium finishes and a win. He said: “It’s a fast circuit with some really tricky corners, but the Eletre really handles it well – with very little roll through the bends. It’s fast and agile too. I can’t wait to get my hands on mine.”
Clive Chapman, an engineering graduate himself, enjoyed a tour of the one million square metre Wuhan EV production centre, where Eletre is now being built. Plant director Mr Tan explained how the site has been constructed to the most modern manufacturing standards, with obsessive attention paid to quality, environmental management and production efficiencies. There are also several nods to the company’s heritage including large areas of rape seed plants – which echo the Norfolk countryside surrounding Hethel – a large body of water reminiscent of the fountain at Hethel, and a site entrance designed in the image of the iconic Colin Chapman ‘open arms’ pose.
Clive test drove the Eletre at the centre’s test track (again Hethel-inspired), though for Eletre it is a test track complete with an off-road course as well. He said: “Who would have thought that what Mum and Dad started in a North London workshop in the 1940s would have turned in to this. I am so proud, as I know they would be, and I’m also really humbled by the many references to the history of our brand both here at the factory and at the brand centre in Shanghai. It’s wonderful, and I can testify that from what I have seen and driven here this week that Eletre is indeed a fine product. Absolutely it is in keeping with my father’s principles of design excellence, innovation and performance. Everyone involved with this fabulous car should be very proud.”