It handles amazingly well for a heavy car and is as much fun to drive as the Elise.
Lotus should be taking a similar drive train and putting it in a lighter, better-handling, better-looking chassis.
This already happened. It was called the Tesla Roadster. I am pretty sure another company tried as well called Detroit Electric and as far as I know its dead in the water.
Also, you're assuming this won't happen. Lotus explicitly said that the tech from the Evija will trickle down.
They would sell tons of them and would further the brand.
No they wouldn't. There are probably tens, if not hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) of people who just realized Lotus either existed or still existed when they heard about the Evija. This is the point of the Evija. To bring new brand awareness, create a flag ship car, to take what they learned from the Evija and apply that to their new line-up of cars. I really don't understand why some people don't get this. Whether it will work or not will remains to be seen, but I think you are fooling yourself to think if Lotus just released a new electric Elise-like car that it would have sold well, it most like would not. Lotus still has a lot of work to do and a big one is their dealership network. It makes way more sense to start at the top and whittle your way down than to start at the bottom and try to fight your way up.
Instead they will struggle to sell this new hypercar, as the Lotus brand is simply not in the same dictionary as Lamborghini and McLaren.
And they won't get there by making an electric Elise. Its funny you mention McLaren because I don't remember McLaren starting out making a $60k budget McLaren and working their way up. They made a hypercar, and then to reinvigorate the brand they made another hypercar. Flagship cars for any company are rarely money makers they are to show off their tech and design.
The good news is that Lotus has stated they still want to make cars in their current price brackets. Whether they do or not remains to be seen.
I mean even the new Tesla Roadster, at $200k, will crush this Lotus.
It will crush it how? Definitely not looks. Price? I don't think someone looking at a Evija is doing comparing shopping with the Roadster. Ones a limited production exotic hypercar, the other is not. I don't think Lotus would do all that work on the Evija knowing it would get crushed by the Roadster, sorry, that just doesn't make sense.