The local dealer had their detailer wash my car after a recent service. I've always told them in the past not to mess with my wheels and the wash job was unsolicited. I didn't mention it this time, as the car was just there for the day. The problem is that the guy used a harsh wheel cleaner...
Either they're very dirty or anodized. Ask me how I know!
Kiyoshi is right, as the Sport Package cars (about 1/3 of the total) built in the first batch of ~500 Elises had anodized wheels. Due to warranty issues with discoloration, they next went to clear coated, then silver painted if I'm not mistaken. My car was a sport pack car built in July, 2004 so it has the anodized wheels.
After the local Lotus dealer gave my car a free wash job I didn't ask for, the wheels came back with permanent water spots all over. One of their most experienced Lotus techs advised me not to have them painted/powder coated, as he said that the paint usually would start to peel off at the sharp edges. I noticed this on cars with painted LSS wheels, so it made sense. Most wheels that are designed to be painted have nice radiused corners/edges to that the paint won't be thin and chip at those areas.
I found a company in the Baltimore area that did military grade anodizing and had the dealer send them up there for stripping/reanodizing. The finish came back very high quality, but not as bright/shiny as the original finish. The original finish would dull after time, so I didn't worry about it.
I guess you could paint them, but be prepared to do it over again after a number of years. I suppose they'll be a few dozen replies from folks that have painted them and never had any problems, but maybe they found a good shop to do the work. I think that there are some on previous posts that have warned against powder coating these wheels, as the heat may weaken them. I'm not sure about this, but it has been discussed.
The original poster has anodized and the second is painted. The clear anodized finish looked great when new but did not wear to well. My first Elise had them and they looked sweet. I heard that wheel supplier was suffering poor yield with this finish and unable to keep up with the demand so Lotus switched to the easier to paint - painted finish.