Lotus Elise Concept for Paris 2010

When I joined Lotus in January 2010, the groundwork for the showcars was already in full swing. Upon stepping into the studio for the first time, I was greeted by a bunch of tables positioned in the middle of the clay plates, where approximately 10 1/3 scale models were taking shape (as shown in the image below). Essentially, I found myself playing catch-up, as the 2D theme selection had already been finalized, and the designs were swiftly transitioning into 3D through the aid of clay models. Nonetheless, I was given the opportunity to propose a design for the future Lotus Elise Concept car – provided I could devise a compelling theme proposal in 2D and subsequently bring it to life in a scale model within the tight timeframe of 10 days before the theme selection for the full-size clay development commences. This task was to be undertaken with limited assistance on the clay model, owing to resource constraints.

Lotus Cars Design Studio, Scale Models
The Lotus Design Studio in Hethel, England. Picture is taken some time in January 2010. Credits: Lotus Cars magazine.

I was immediately hard at work staying till very very late in the design studio. In the 5 days prior to starting my scale model I managed to create a very modern and “avant-garde” looking theme which was then given the chance to be further developed as a 3rd scale model. You can see a small selection of the exterior sketches below.

lotus elise concept design sketches

For the first time since my days at Coventry University, I found myself dressing down and getting hands-on, loading clay onto the model buck due to limited modelling support available for my clay model. Nonetheless, working closely with the clay modelers, we did a strong proposal for the Lotus Esprit Concept car, which ultimately won the theme selection for full-scale development – despite facing the shortest timeframe to refine the theme in both 2D and 3D. Exciting news, indeed! However, as is often the case in car design studios, internal politics intervened, and another theme from a colleague was chosen to progress to full-scale development. The rationale? My proposal was deemed too bold and futuristic. Check out the scale model on the picture below.

Lotus Elise Scale Model
1/3 Scale model of the Lotus Elise Concept presented at the 2010 Paris Motor Show

My workload was far from being complete. There were numerous tasks ahead for the small design team, and I was promptly involved in the interior design of all the concept cars – simultaneously developing four seats, co-designing the Lotus Eterne Concept, which was later integrated into the mix, and everything in between.

lotus esprit concept seat design sketches by miroslav dimitrov
Design Sketches of various seat designs for the Lotus Concept cars.
lotus elise concept 01
2010 Lotus Elise Concept enjoying the California sun. Image Credits: Lotus Cars.
lotus elise interior
2010 Lotus Elise Concept – Interior. Image Credits: Unknow.

From Lotus: “The Lotus Elise you can buy now is still a fantastic car, make no mistake, Lotus remain very proud of it, but this is a natural progression for us moving forward. The Elise 2015 will also be class-leading in terms of performance and efficiency but it will do more than that it will take the Lotus Elise model to the forefront of its class across the board. The design of the Lotus Elise 2015 is perfect for the target market, it’s young, strong, confident, verging on ruthless, it mirrors the engineering and technology. It’s the next generation Elise for a new generation of Lotus drivers.”

Lotus Concept Cars, Paris Motor Show 2010
The entire range of 2010 Lotus Show Cars. You can see the Elise in the middle.

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