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Lotus Hasn’t Delivered a Single Emira in the U.S. Yet Because of California

We finally know why the Lotus Emira hasn’t gone on sale in the U.S.

No, part shortages and production issues aren’t to blame. Instead, Automotive News reports that it’s the state of California to blame. That’s because the Chinese-owned British marque’s final gas-powered model doesn’t meet California’s emissions standards yet.

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The Emira was unveiled all the way back in 2021 and was supposed to go on sale here in 2022. That may not have happened yet, but the $100,000 coupé has already begun crossing the Atlantic and even made it to dealerships, they just can’t sell the sports car or deliver it to customers. The reason is that the automaker, which is owned by Geely, is still waiting to get the sign-off to sell the car from the California Air Resource Board (CARB).

The Lotus Emira First Edition on a highway
Lotus Emira First Edition

That’s a big problem for Lotus because California is the most populous state and because 13 other states, including New York and New Jersey, follow CARB emission rules. The other 36 states in the union follow Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules, but the car can’t be sold there either, because it could then be flipped to someone in a CARB state, according to Motor1.com. The driver in the CARB state would be unable to register the vehicle since it does not meet local statutes.

The hang-up is a bit of an odd one for Lotus, because it’s previously sold a car in the U.S. with the same exact mill. The Emira’s engine is a Toyota-sourced 3.5-liter 2GR-FE V-6 with an Edelbrock 1740 supercharger. The setup produces 400 hp and 310 ft lbs of torque, which is slightly less than the 416 hp and 317 ft lbs of torque it produced in the Evora GT. The Emira’s powertrain even revs at a lower rate (6,800 rpm compared to 7,200 rpm). Eventually, the newer model will also be available with a Mercedes-AMG-sourced turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four that generates 360 hp and 317 ft lbs of torque.

Lotus told Automotive News that it has applied a software update to the Emira’s powertrain that should allow it to meet CARB standards. That process, which included road tests of the vehicle, is now complete, so the next move it’s now up to the agency to certify the vehicle. The automaker is hopeful that will happen soon, but, for now, the delay continues.

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