The Disruptors: Lotus engineering is breaking the mould
Over the course of The Disruptors series, East Anglia's start-up founders and business leaders have shared their stories of disruptive innovation. But if you're a 72 year-old business, is it really still possible to disrupt?
Ask Matt Windle, executive director of sports car engineering at Lotus, and the answer is an emphatic yes: and that disruption is best summed up by the gleaming, streamlined form of Lotus’ all-electric Evija hypercar, which was unveiled last year.
In the latest installment of The Disruptors series, below, Matt, who is responsible for all Lotus sports car product development and program management, admitted that people were surprised that Lotus were able to produce the Evija: “It’s something new for us and I don’t think the marketplace was expecting it.”
He believes that the Evija, which can reach 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds and 0-180mph in under 9 seconds, will influence future design: “Its design cues and technology will filter down into more higher volume products we have coming up in the future.” he said.
“People ask why it’s defined as ‘hyper’ – it’s because it’s a supercar plus,” Matt explained. “We were keen to make the Evija for the drivers, so it’s designed so that it could be used every day.”
Matt, who started his career with Lotus in 1998 as a CAD designer, has since worked with automotive brands like Daewoo, Volvo, start-up Zenos Cars and Caterham. He also worked closely with Elon Musk during his time as a principal engineer at Tesla. In 2017, he returned to Lotus. Working within such a small margin for error, Matt admits there are always challenges, but that’s what gets him up every morning.
FACT FILE: Matt Windle, executive director of sports car engineering, Lotus
First car: A Hillman Hunter. Don’t ask me why, but I hand-painted it ‘Dormobile blue’ with a brush, because I was working there at the time and used their paint.
Favourite Lotus: the MK1 Elan. It’s just beautiful. I’ve never driven one, but I’d love to.
Claim to fame: I’ve spent a lot of time working with Elon Musk – he’s a very driven guy. As a result, I learned it’s okay to make quick decisions if it’s better than delaying.