September 10, 2021
By: Richard Roe

First Road Trip in the Evora

> Lots of miles, and tons of pain.
Tags: road-trips, evora, lotus,

A hard dose of reality

Well, the honeymoon phase is over. For the Labor Day weekend, I decided to travel to Los Angeles to go to Disneyland. I figured this would be the perfect time to test out the road-tripping capabilities of the Evora, and I have to say... it could have gone better. A number of factors came into play that ultimately led to one of my worst road trip experiences ever, some of which are no fault of anyone's, and others that were absolutely due to the nature of the vehicle. So, let's talk about some issues, and what happened as a result of those issues during the 900 mile trip.

Disney was fun. I mean, it had this; not a lot to complain about here.

It was hot. Really hot.

The California heat is no joke. Living in San Francisco for so long, I often forget just how hot it gets everywhere else. When I left San Francisco on the trip, it was a warm day for SF - we're talking lower 70's. But, 30 minutes later as I'm getting through Dublin headed towards i5, the thermometer was reading in the upper 90's, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Which is fine - the air conditioning is serviceable, and the air intakes for the engine on the sides can suck up a good amount of air while moving at decent speeds. What I wasn't expecting was an absolute parking lot on the road; multiple miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic outside Livermore. So here's the situation: not moving, surrounded by hot cars, in a valley with no airflow and no clouds. Suffice to say, we began overheating immediately. Apparently, according to the LotusTalk forums, this is a pretty common issue; the fan that is installed to kick on in order to assist with airflow when the temperatures begin to go up is effective, but it only seemed to activate when the vehicle was sitting still. Because the traffic would move a few feet every few seconds, it wasn't able to be on long enough to make a big difference. So, I got to spend 45 minutes with the windows down, heater on, and sweat having a party on my back. Oh, did I mention the thermometer was reading 107, and I got stuck in traffic 4 times on the trip and dealt with the overheating every time? Super fun.

No joke, it was actually just too hot.

Stick is fun, but not in traffic

Here's a terrible scenario: a car accident south of Bakersfield in the mountains means there's about 90 minutes worth of awful traffic... on a mountain road with a >5% upwards incline. After already having been driving for six hours in a good amount of congestion the entire way down, my legs were already pretty shot. But that part... that sealed it. Constant fighting with the car to keep it from rolling into the cars behind me while pushing uphill through the traffic, while still dealing with the aforementioned overheating issues, was inarguably the least amount of fun I've had in a vehicle (aside from the time my brakes went out in the Mustang - a story for another time). This wouldn't have been an issue if it were an automatic, but I love driving stick - a sentiment I'm struggling to come to terms with in light of this experience. Maybe I need two cars after all.

The good

The car is super comfortable to ride in - surprisingly so. When not dealing with the above, the car handles and drives like a dream, and is a very comfortable ride overall. The suspension is a little solid, so you definitely feel the road. But, honestly, that wasn't too bad. The speakers are fine - so I got to jam out on the 7 hour road-trip playlist I put together. The air conditioning is more than enough - it could definitely be better, but even with 100+ degree temperatures, it never got too hot on the open stretches inside. Other drivers definitely seemed to enjoy seeing the car - a truck driver who was next to me in some of the traffic spent a while looking it over, before honking his horn and giving a thumbs up as we separated, which was fun. And that sucks - if it weren't for the realities of what a road trip can entail (traffic, heat, hills), it'd be the perfect car. I love it, don't get me wrong. I just think I need to re-evaluate the viability of this type of car for everyday life. It's definitely got me considering an Emira with an automatic transmission (as sacreligious as that is). I think I need to look into ways of easing some of these issues, so we'll see what the future holds.