Final Production Seats: A Deeper Dive

Next Decade

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2022
Messages
86
Reaction score
239
Location
Southeast USA
This will attempt to expand a bit on the development of the seats. I’m back to work now so I may not be able to answer questions right away but will get to them. @Hapkin may have additional thoughts after reading it. I do not have any photos of the final spec seats but will do my best to explain what I found during a recent factory tour last week; Long winded, I know, but you wanted details. Either way, a significant amount of content will be coming out soon as all of these car deliveries are beginning.

As most are aware, the Emira seats have been a hotly debated topic due to the lack of clarity on production spec vehicles. It has been an iterative process for the Lotus design team and one that they did not take lightly. The frame assembly is provided by Lear, but the upholstery is finished by Lotus.

Insourcing the cushion design was the most iterative aspect of the seats and probably the reason for not having them in later pre-production cars. The cushions are of Lotus Design and made by FS Fehrer Automotive. The leather is sourced from Bridge of Weir located just West of Glasgow; unsure on the Alcantara but it is likely sourced from Fehrer if I had to guess.

  • Bridge of Weir leather is a staple in the industry, have been in operation for over a century and have an impressive historical portfolio. Their leather is sought after due to the naturally soft water in the area and excessive animal husbandry. Their cows treated with/held to standards akin to Kobe Beef. Cows selected for hides are further refined and limited to certain ages and other aspects that maintain quality of the leather they harvest.

  • FS Fehrer Automotive is under the umbrella of the AUNDE Group, has been in operation since 1875 and appears to have additional capacity to supply Lotus with any interior materials they need. Falling victim to a financial crisis in 2012, they were acquired in 2014 and restructured. However, given their current operations, it appears they are doing quite well.
    • AUNDE Group is headquartered in Mönchengladbach, Germany. Oddly enough, this city was the prime destination of my recent trip to Europe (for work related purposes). They, also have a long history in the textile industry.
1664203198019.png

  • Lear dates to 1917 in Detroit where it first began supplying the automotive and aircraft industries…You get the idea. Lol
The common theme being that all the vendors providing materials for the seats are well established and very successful in their craft. Off topic, but the suppliers above are likely providing most of the interior items for Lotus (in addition to the seats). It would make sense from a business perspective to use a handful of companies that overlap in their capabilities to reduce risk; just a thought.

From what I can see, a substantial amount of work went into the design and engineering of them. They could have taken a more "parts bin" approach to it and it likely would have been acceptable. However, Lotus put priority on developing the seats custom for the Emira. Not only does this show commitment to quality but also allows them flexibility moving forward into other seat variations/options and new models.

I'm sure that the difficulties inherit to proving out a new manufacturing process and everything else they've juggled over the past two years had a bearing on final decisions here, but the seats are exceptional. In my opinion, you get the best of both worlds with the approach Lotus has gone. They have the ability provide custom designed, hand-crafted products, while still adapting to modern higher volume manufacturing processes.

We only met one person working explicitly on the seat upholstery and he was a superstar in that dept. His name is Rich, I believe. He is a master shoemaker and has an impressive portfolio. His work can be seen on Instagram (Rich0850). I do not have Instagram; only reference I found is here. So, someone else will need to dig further into this and provide links to others if wanted. Either way, this guy is impressive and truly an artist.

  • Quote from @Hapklin: "Seats are impressive. The leather final assembly is done by a few people, but the tough parts are done a shoe cobbler who made a pair of shoes for King Charles. I carefully watched him on the second day tour and the dude is a magician. It is definitely an art form to make sure there aren't any creases, sagging, bunching of the leather or foam underneath. We were allowed to sit in a final production car and they were firmer than the prototypes; GT level of bolstering."
Finally, it appears that the seats fabrication has outpaced other production as they have seats going as high as model 556 (only from what I could see with limited access). Even if this is the case, it’s a good sign that they are not lacking on the supply chain for these materials.
 
Last edited:

alvitdk

Active member
Joined
Sep 23, 2022
Messages
38
Reaction score
95
Location
New Braunfels, TX
Great background information and mirrors what I saw last month at my factory visit (even though I did not go into those details). Either way, on my test drive in Dallas last week, I felt the seats (they were the final production seats) were very comfy, with good support for my frame (5'8" 175lbs). They did explain that changing seats is a time-consuming issue, as with every design change they need to do another crash test...
 

Hapkin

Emira Fan
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
132
Reaction score
274
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Also note from our discussion with Nick that the leather is semi-analine, using male cattle only because it is naturally thicker. That region of Scotland has less calcium and minerals in the water so the leather is naturally softer as well.

Bridge of Weir up cycles leather That would otherwise be in a landfill. They also have a patented circular manufacturing process.

From their website:
"And we’ve powered our own progress by taking our process waste as fuel in a patented circular manufacturing process. Our thermal energy plant reclaims energy as steam or as a biofuel co-product from our waste streams and uses some of this heat to directly power our tannery. This minimises waste to landfill and radically reduces our carbon footprint, which in turn, helps our customers reduce their carbon impact too."

Note that there are at least 3 different types of seating foam for both support and comfort. The final production seats which @Next Decade and I sat in, have more firmness than the pre-pro ones in the track car I drove. Definitely more side bolstering firmness.

More to come
 
OP
Next Decade

Next Decade

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2022
Messages
86
Reaction score
239
Location
Southeast USA
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Also note from our discussion with Nick that the leather is semi-analine, using male cattle only because it is naturally thicker. That region of Scotland has less calcium and minerals in the water so the leather is naturally softer as well.

Bridge of Weir up cycles leather That would otherwise be in a landfill. They also have a patented circular manufacturing process.

From their website:
"And we’ve powered our own progress by taking our process waste as fuel in a patented circular manufacturing process. Our thermal energy plant reclaims energy as steam or as a biofuel co-product from our waste streams and uses some of this heat to directly power our tannery. This minimises waste to landfill and radically reduces our carbon footprint, which in turn, helps our customers reduce their carbon impact too."

Note that there are at least 3 different types of seating foam for both support and comfort. The final production seats which @Next Decade and I sat in, have more firmness than the pre-pro ones in the track car I drove. Definitely more side bolstering firmness.

More to come

Also, they select their cows based on strict age (and gender) specifically to ensure the most consistent hide thickness. This allows for more consistency, less waste, and better results during the shaving process.

Another theme of every supplier is that they are all environmentally conscious, at least it appears that way…more so than many companies who, when you read the fine print, are simply buying carbon credits (useless. And it’s mostly for tax incentives).
 

Calran

Emira Fan
Joined
Nov 9, 2021
Messages
154
Reaction score
230
Location
Surrey
Great write up. Here are some pictures of final production seats from the recent European customer and dealer deliveries:

View attachment 9146View attachment 9147View attachment 9148View attachment 9149

Pics: Stino, Thierry Verhiest
Does anyone know why some seats have the three lines half way up the seat and others don’t? Looks like they are not on the Yellow car in these pictures for example. Personally I like them and think the add to the sporty look, so hoping they are a feature of the production seats……
 

idleuser

Emira Fan
Joined
May 19, 2022
Messages
166
Reaction score
159
Location
California
Emira Status
Emira on order
Does the red seats really look like that? Looks like a cherry laffy taffy. LOL
 

Lotustoronto

Emira Addict
Joined
Nov 13, 2021
Messages
1,900
Reaction score
2,499
Location
Toronto
Emira Status
Emira on order
Does anyone know why some seats have the three lines half way up the seat and others don’t? Looks like they are not on the Yellow car in these pictures for example. Personally I like them and think the add to the sporty look, so hoping they are a feature of the production seats……
I believe leather seats have the three lines, Alcantara do not because it can not be embossed.
 

TomE

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Aug 10, 2021
Messages
6,427
Reaction score
14,643
Location
Surrey, UK
Emira Status
Emira on order
Does anyone know why some seats have the three lines half way up the seat and others don’t? Looks like they are not on the Yellow car in these pictures for example. Personally I like them and think the add to the sporty look, so hoping they are a feature of the production seats……
The three lines on the black alcantara (for example in the yellow car above) are less visible than on the leather seats, but are there. It's more of a change of texture than a recess.
 

KusaKusa

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 29, 2022
Messages
78
Reaction score
145
Location
USA
I recall a conversation recently about Lotus comms and marketing. If Lotus had some article series like this going into details like this about craftsmanship, attention to detail, and engineering about every part of their cars, I'd be over the moon. It's great at bringing legitimacy to what's historically been a small and sorta ragtag brand that's now trying to compete with Porsche. But I recognize that this wouldn't be the best medium to acquire customers or engage with the brand, and also these are just my personal desires that are probably limited to a tiny customer niche.
 

VL3X

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
3,177
Reaction score
4,880
Location
Delaware, USA
I recall a conversation recently about Lotus comms and marketing. If Lotus had some article series like this going into details like this about craftsmanship, attention to detail, and engineering about every part of their cars, I'd be over the moon. It's great at bringing legitimacy to what's historically been a small and sorta ragtag brand that's now trying to compete with Porsche. But I recognize that this wouldn't be the best medium to acquire customers or engage with the brand, and also these are just my personal desires that are probably limited to a tiny customer niche.

I think that'd be a great idea! Lotus has a lot of things they could be doing...
 
OP
Next Decade

Next Decade

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2022
Messages
86
Reaction score
239
Location
Southeast USA
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #16
I recall a conversation recently about Lotus comms and marketing. If Lotus had some article series like this going into details like this about craftsmanship, attention to detail, and engineering about every part of their cars, I'd be over the moon. It's great at bringing legitimacy to what's historically been a small and sorta ragtag brand that's now trying to compete with Porsche. But I recognize that this wouldn't be the best medium to acquire customers or engage with the brand, and also these are just my personal desires that are probably limited to a tiny customer niche.
I received a follow up email from them today. I could throw that out there but I have a feeling they know…and I’m not trying to overstep boundaries.

Has Lotus ever really been focused on PR? Or have they mostly relied on their products to sell themselves or be hyped by others?

I’m about to post another similar write up with my take on the the Emira chassis. I’m doing my best to separate facts (with certainty) from logical assumptions/extrapolation from my visit. I’d love to have them revise it and review for errors. I think would either make someone happy or piss them off lol.

I often like to include blatant errors in my designs/work to be reviewed…it tells me who actually looked at them in detail. This would not be one of those times.
 

magmared

Active member
Joined
Aug 13, 2022
Messages
33
Reaction score
16
Location
United Arab Emirates
Also note from our discussion with Nick that the leather is semi-analine, using male cattle only because it is naturally thicker. That region of Scotland has less calcium and minerals in the water so the leather is naturally softer as well.

Bridge of Weir up cycles leather That would otherwise be in a landfill. They also have a patented circular manufacturing process.

From their website:
"And we’ve powered our own progress by taking our process waste as fuel in a patented circular manufacturing process. Our thermal energy plant reclaims energy as steam or as a biofuel co-product from our waste streams and uses some of this heat to directly power our tannery. This minimises waste to landfill and radically reduces our carbon footprint, which in turn, helps our customers reduce their carbon impact too."

Note that there are at least 3 different types of seating foam for both support and comfort. The final production seats which @Next Decade and I sat in, have more firmness than the pre-pro ones in the track car I drove. Definitely more side bolstering firmness.

More to come
Brilliant write up! And the pictures by @TomE helps a lot too! Those seats look fantastic in those pictures.
 

Hapkin

Emira Fan
Joined
Sep 17, 2021
Messages
132
Reaction score
274
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
I recall a conversation recently about Lotus comms and marketing. If Lotus had some article series like this going into details like this about craftsmanship, attention to detail, and engineering about every part of their cars, I'd be over the moon. It's great at bringing legitimacy to what's historically been a small and sorta ragtag brand that's now trying to compete with Porsche. But I recognize that this wouldn't be the best medium to acquire customers or engage with the brand, and also these are just my personal desires that are probably limited to a tiny customer niche.
This is exactly what I recommended to Nick and Matt Whindle . So many stories to tell that would strengthen the brand
 

Pops68

Emira Fanatic
Joined
Sep 14, 2022
Messages
357
Reaction score
436
Location
So Calif.
The leather seats look phenomenal. I'm keeping my Ice Grey interior for sure.

Thank you TomE, Stino, and Thierry Verhiest for sharing this. Really helped boost my excitement back up. :ROFLMAO:
Wow there's some skill and pride in workmanship!!! I'm definitely getting the leather, love the embossing!!
 

RENDERMAN

Emira Fanatic
Joined
Apr 17, 2022
Messages
424
Reaction score
302
Location
Le Banane République 305 USA
So many stories to tell that would strengthen the brand
Pardon my interruption but I hope Lear is not pronounced Lier or Lotus will be in serious trouble. I've been dealing with Lotus since 2005 so stories does not do much for me anymore. I, like every customer out there want to start seen results! I recently purchased a 2021 Evora GT with 3500K miles and less than a year old and the $5K seats are coming undone, have a water leak (14 years in the making) the AC stopped working twice, the pillar covers are ungluing, for a customer coming from Porsche or even KIA these series of events could be devastating. I just can't understand how Lotus all of the sudden is this state of the art company with great craftsmanship. The interior on the Emira reminds me so much of a Tesla (a car I would never buy) Can't wait to see the three beautiful indentations on the seats coming unglued like my eye bags, you're going to have to use that cream on TV to put it back together! :)
I also feel sorry for those of you that are planning to seriously track your car, you will have to put some serious money to make it full track ready or buy the GT4 instead....
I am seriously deviating whether I should keep my deposit or just weight until the I4 3.0 comes out with more power and new and improved seats or even hold on until the electric in 2026. Nuff with my rant, have a good evening!
 
Last edited:
Top