❔ QUESTION Emira body panels

LotusAmateur

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Hi all,

I know that the Emira body panels are made of composites. I have never owned a car with composite panels before, usually aluminium or steel. But, seems that Lotus have a lot of experience with composites in other models. So a lot of other forum members are veterans at it.

From an ownership perspective, what do I need to keep in mind for composites vs aluminium/ steel? Any specific considerations? I will do a front and side PPF and ceramic all around.

Sorry if this was asked before but I could not find it.

Thanks!
 

digilotus

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A few differences come to mind...

Firstly, unlike steel or aluminium, composites don't rust or corrode. That's a huge plus for longevity.

Also, composites don't dent like aluminum or steel but they do flex and can withstand impacts quite well. Conversely you can't call your local "dent puller" as that only works on metals that are malleable. I have not seen a Lotus with a dent!

When hit hard, composites generally fracture or crack whereas metals will bend. Although they can be repaired somewhat, over time these hairlines cracks and ingrained fractures can propagate which means a crackd panel generally is one that needs to be replaced.

Most good body shops who provide a lifetime repair guarantee will only replace cracked/fractured composite panels as its not worth the risk of needing to repair it again in the near future due to the reasons above.

Paint wise, there is obviously a different undercoat involved. I believe the new Lotus paint system leverages an undercoat that is somewhat conductive, allowing the undercoated composite body panels to be electrically charged which means the top coat paints will form a better more consistent bond with less waste due to electrical attraction between panel and paint during the painting process. Historically this could only be achieved on conductive steel / aluminium panels given composites are non-conductive.

From a paint care perspective, composites and metals are exactly the same. Same methods are used to polish, protect and seal the top coat / clear coat with the same types of product.
 

FederGigant

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If you consider polishing your car, there is a tiny difference, especially if you use a rotary polisher. There's quite a bit of heat generated when polishing, and a steel and especially an aluminium panel works kind of like a heat sink, which the composite panel does not. Therefore you have to be a bit more carful.
 

Tonyshepp

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If you consider polishing your car, there is a tiny difference, especially if you use a rotary polisher. There's quite a bit of heat generated when polishing, and a steel and especially an aluminium panel works kind of like a heat sink, which the composite panel does not. Therefore you have to be a bit more carful.
Do you mean you can rub a hole in it ?? :)
 

KJD

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Sorry, but that’s just nonsense.

Paint is paint. On metal or composite makes very little difference.

This is my 3 year old Evora after about an hour with a DA polisher, and it was my first ever attempt.

4639416D-8158-4DD4-B97F-EA64C521E989.jpeg
 

FederGigant

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dual action is safe. rotary works as well, but is trickier. It would be nonsense to just polish the car without putting some thought into it and then go to the paintshop. It's no secret that rotary polishers generate a lot of heat ad it's no secret that metal conducts heat better than plastic... just keep that in mind and you'll be fine.
 

prestonc

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Hi all,

I know that the Emira body panels are made of composites. I have never owned a car with composite panels before, usually aluminium or steel. But, seems that Lotus have a lot of experience with composites in other models. So a lot of other forum members are veterans at it.

From an ownership perspective, what do I need to keep in mind for composites vs aluminium/ steel? Any specific considerations? I will do a front and side PPF and ceramic all around.

Sorry if this was asked before but I could not find it.

Thanks!
No bumping!
 

Maverick1

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Solution.
First, get your entire new Emira polished with a light finishing polish as it should be good enough on a new car.
Second, once the paint is flawless have someone install paint protection film on all the areas you feel are vulnerable....for me the full bumper, full fenders, rocker panels, mirror caps, inner door sills, full hood (do not cheap out and only do 1/2 the hood, as the line is noticeable and you will get chips on the unprotected area.)
Once the ppf is done, have someone (I plan on applying it myself) put a ceramic coating on the entire car, even on the ppf and you're good to go for a few years.
 

Johnson

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What a great thread… I was wondering about that too. Part of me was a bit concerned I’m paying $200,000 for a plastic car!

So, what exactly is the composite? Does it have fiber in the plastic? Why composite and not straight poly?

I’m also intrigued at how they electrically charge the composite panels for painting. Is it done statically (like rubbing a balloon on a polyester shirt)? I’m picturing a bunch of Lotus technicians rubbing my car’s panels with microfiber cloths…
 

KJD

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dual action is safe. rotary works as well, but is trickier. It would be nonsense to just polish the car without putting some thought into it and then go to the paintshop. It's no secret that rotary polishers generate a lot of heat ad it's no secret that metal conducts heat better than plastic... just keep that in mind and you'll be fine.
Fair enough.

I used a DA polisher to get my results. Ordinary rotary I wouldn’t be recommending. They’re for experts.

The point is that, to answer the original post, there is nothing to worry about that the panels are made of composite rather than metal.
 

Maverick1

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How robust are the composite panels?
For instance if some unthinking person where to open their door in a parking lot and bump the door of an Emira, would it be able to take the hit which would normally make a small but noticeable door ding in a metal door?
How much force can the composite panels take before they crack?
 

FederGigant

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I'd say if a door gets bumped onto a composite panel, it doesn't care about it as long as it's not an edge that get's hit, but the paint might have a scratch then.
 
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MikeR

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How robust are the composite panels?
For instance if some unthinking person where to open their door in a parking lot and bump the door of an Emira, would it be able to take the hit which would normally make a small but noticeable door ding in a metal door?
How much force can the composite panels take before they crack?
Interested in any answers and insights on this subject too.
 

KJD

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In the “door opening in the car park” scenario, composite will “give“ a bit more than metal, so will take more of an impact before it is permanent.
However, it’s not magic. Paint will scratch and the composite will crack/smash if the bang is hard enough.
But, it would have to be a really forceful door swing to crack it.
Metal will dent with a comparably small impact and the dent just gets bigger with more force.

In short, you have more chance of getting away with a bump, but only up to a certain point.

The Emira will be my 5th Lotus/Composite car, and the only damage I‘ve ever had (beyond paint chips) was when misjudging a car park entrance kerb and cracking the chin of an Elise.
 

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