Lotus and Centrica tie-up on new electric vehicle ownership model
Lotus is working with British Gas parent Centrica to develop a new electric vehicle ownership model, likely to be based on vehicle-to-grid (V2G) services.
The new deal, announced as the carmaker pushes ahead with plans to electrify its range, is intended to “redefine the customer relationship with cars”. Initial details outline that this will be done by “making the car an extension of the home, capable of storing electricity, minimising emissions and generating new income by providing services to the energy market”.
Existing carmaker tie-ups with energy firms in the UK include Nissan and EDF’s tie-up on V2G services, intended to cut fleet costs for firms making the switch to the Nissan Leaf and e-NV200 EVs.
And earlier this year, Honda announced plans to help Islington Council optimise its vehicle fleet through V2G technology with the help of smart battery and charging software specialist Moixa; the first project to be deployed by Moixa and Honda under their new pan-European smart charging partnership announced last year.
The Lotus deal with Centrica comes ahead of the start of production of the all-electric Evija hypercar at the company’s Hethel, Norfolk HQ later in 2020.
Carl Bayliss, vice president of Centrica Innovations, said: “Owning an electric vehicle isn’t the same as owning an internal combustion engine car. We see a future where the customer, car and home are connected, enabling new services beyond charging the car, and new products and experiences replacing the unremarkable standard relationship with energy and the ownership of a car today.
“Lotus is the perfect partner as we embark on this, given the recognition and appeal of the brand globally and the fact that it is right at the beginning of its electrification journey.”
Uday Senapati, executive director – corporate strategy for Lotus, added: “Centrica brings a wealth of energy sector expertise to the table that will not only help us to determine the right course for our mobility strategy, but the hands-on capability to ensure that the right infrastructure is in place globally. The future of mobility is a huge opportunity for providing value-added services to the consumer and this platform will put Lotus at the forefront of that digital mobility ecosystem.”
The two firms are also working on a new global sustainability programme that targets net zero carbon across Lotus operations.
Senapati added: “We have set ambitious targets for decarbonising both our vehicles and our operations. Given the rate of change required and the importance of getting it right first time, the support of our strategic partner Centrica is going to be vital.”