Lotus, the British carmaker known for its sports and racing cars, has entered the electric bike market with the Type 136, a high-performance e-road bike that costs £20,000, or nearly US $25,000. The bike is inspired by the Lotus track bikes that won Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 2020, and features a carbon frame with a distinctive wing-shaped fork and vaulted chain stays.
The Type 136 is equipped with the HPS Watt Assist Pro motor system, which claims to be the world’s lightest e-bike motor at 1.2 kg (2.6 pounds). The motor delivers 250 Watts of power and 40 Nm of torque, and is powered by a 193 Wh battery that is disguised as a water bottle. The battery can provide up to 10 hours of assistance, depending on the riding mode and conditions.
The bike also boasts a Campagnolo Super Record wireless groupset, Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 60 wheelset, and V-shaped handlebars that enhance the aerodynamics of the bike. The frame is handcrafted in Italy and weighs only 9.8 kg (21.6 pounds), making it one of the lightest e-bikes on the market.
The Type 136 is not just an e-bike, but also a dual-use bike that can function as a mechanical road bike with the battery removed. Lotus says that the bike is designed to offer the best of both worlds, allowing riders to enjoy the benefits of electric assistance or the pure thrill of pedaling.
The first edition of the Type 136 is limited to 136 bikes, each individually numbered, and is available in a black and gold color scheme. The bike is expected to be delivered in spring 2024. Lotus plans to launch more models of the Type 136 in the future, with lower prices ranging from £15,199 to £16,999 (approximately US $18,500 to US $21,000).
The Type 136 is not the first e-bike from Lotus, as the company previously collaborated with Hope Technology and Renishaw to create the Hope/Lotus track bike that was used by the Great Britain cycling team at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The track bike featured a similar aerodynamic frame and fork design, but without the electric motor and battery.
The Type 136 is also not the only e-bike that costs as much as a car, as there are other examples of luxury e-bikes on the market, such as the HPS Domestique, the Pininfarina E-voluzione, and the Maserati MC Corse. These e-bikes are aimed at affluent customers who are looking for exclusivity, performance, and style, and are willing to pay a premium for them.
However, the Type 136 is unique in its connection to Lotus’ heritage and innovation in automotive and cycling design. Lotus says that the Type 136 is a tribute to its 75 years of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in engineering, and a reflection of its passion for creating the racing champions of the future.