Lotus performance and 300-400 mile range would be awesome!
They are perfect company to pull something like this off, and with an actual dealer network I could see it being successful. The biggest hitch is probably just lack of interest right now due to low fuel prices. Not that I think they will stay low in the long term, and viable alternative fuel vehicle technology really does need to be developed.
I would fully expect a Tesla lawsuit if they announce a product. But then again Tesla's lawsuit against Fisker didn't really work out so well so who knows with dwindling funds how lawsuit aggressive they will be against any other company developing electric cars.
Then again Telsa may possibly even see a small benefit if Lotus puts out a "competing" car. If they hold some sort of patent on a part that will need to be used and can collect royalties on it. I could see them in the future being more viable as a technology licenser than an actual vehicle manufacturer. I think that is where their success will lie if they stick around.
Model S is looking like hype and vapor ware. No plant to produce it, and plans for a plant now put on hold according to recent news. If they ever do get an "affordable" product to market, the advantage of the timing jump of them kickstarting the electric car market will be gone and competition from "real" car companies (with established brands, history, dealer networks, ability to service around the country, etc) will be in the market. Eventually Toyota, Honda, Merc. etc will have a car out there. The Volt? Well....eventually Toyota, Honda, Merc, etc will have a car out there.
Kudo's for Tesla though for getting the electric car ball rolling again. Just like if Diamond didn't pioneer the Rio MP3 player 10 years ago we probably wouldn't have $100 Apple iPods now. I guess the electric car thing is a little different though, since they were a force well over 100 years ago, and there have been a few recent stabs in the past decade or so with limited volumes, and lots were in the making. (I drove an Electric Ford Ranger once at Fords Alt. Fuel development center) I still stand by what I've typed many times here before- If GM didn't sell their battery patents to Chevron/Texaco we'd have plenty of Electric cars on the roads today. It's a shame they killed real cars like the Toyota Rav4 electric. The only real serious contender that was offered for general sale and not on some clowny lease program. (I expect the Volt if it ever materializes will be on as lame a program as the EV1 was)
Lotus is the PERFECT company to put a product like that on the mass market and with all their technical achievements I've often wondered why they haven't. Tesla looked like an amazing idea on paper. But 5 years, 4 CEOs, and 100 cars later, along with layoffs by blog posts, lost lawsuits, closed shop in Detroit where supposedly the model S was being developed, no plant to build the next car, trans issues, limited range without a viable backup solution (fuel), the continually running coolant pump issues that drain them as posted by the founders blog, disgruntled employees exposing their financial problems, rumors of them being extremely slow to pay suppliers for proprietary parts, laying off workers in Hethel who make the cars while over 1000 people wait on them, skipping people in the wait line to sell cars direct for more money, begging for goverment money, a poor Top Gear review with crap range overheated motor and brake failure, and real competition on the horizon- the execution isn't looking so hot anymore.