The Lotus Eletre is the first of ‘a new breed of pure electric SUVs’ which – according to Lotus – “takes the core principles and Lotus DNA from almost 75 years of sports car design and engineering, evolving them into a desirable all-new lifestyle car for the next generation of Lotus customers”. From that we can all but infer that the ‘simplify and add lightness’ mantra has been ditched because of consumer demands.
Regardless, the Eletre was developed by a team from around the world with Lotus’s home on Hethel, Norfolk, leading development and supported by the Lotus Creative Centre in Coventry, engineering teams in Raunheim, Germany, and the Tech engineering and manufacturing teams in Wuhan, China.
Two powertrain options are available in the Lotus Eletre, all of which are dual-motor setups coming with the same monstrous 112kWh battery. At the lower end are the Lotus Eletre and Eletre S which feature a substantial output of 603bhp and 524lb-ft of torque, delivering 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 160mph. In this guise, the car is a traditional single-speed EV.
Ratchet things up to the full-fat Eletre R and Lotus have put the hyper into ‘Hyper-SUV’ thanks to a system output of 905bhp and 726lb-ft. This power makes the Lotus Eletre R the fastest accelerating electric SUV on the market, dispatching 0-62mph in 2.95 seconds and going on to a top speed of 165mph. The R also gains a dual-speed gearing system to help deliver the performance to the road.
Whilst all Eletre models have torque vectoring and active air suspension to keep the undoubtedly hefty car in check, the top spec Eletre R gains ‘Track Mode’ which provides a lower ride height and more performance-oriented settings for the dampers and anti-roll control. Ceramic brakes can be specified for additional stopping power. Lotus is also working on advanced technology which will ultimately allow customers to drive the Nürburgring circuit autonomously.
The 112kWh battery can be juiced from 10 to 80 per cent in as little as 20 minutes from an ultra-rapid charger and offers a WLTP range of up to 373 miles on the Eletre and Eletre S, or 304 miles on the Eletre R.
An SUV it may be, but the Lotus Eletre has plenty of the design cues that can be found on the Evija such as the front grilles (which are active), LED headlights and louvres in the bonnet. A heavily raked windscreen meets the roofline far back on the car’s length and the rear is defined by a subtle fastback, complete with high-level spoilers and a lower rear diffuser. Also at the rear is a full-width LED strip light with the brand lettering beneath.
Wheels are 20 inches as standard, but can be specified up to 22 or 23 inches – and they don’t look oversized on the Eletre. At 5103mm long, 2231mm wide (with wing mirrors) and 1636mm tall (with 22/23 inch wheels), it’s a very big car. Despite the size, Lotus reckons the Eletre is good fun on a B-road – an empty one presumably.
Lotus has invested big in the tech experience on the inside to the extent that the user interface and user experience is powered by Unreal Engine, which is one of the most powerful gaming engines out there. Processing is prodigious, too, with all elements powered by Lotus’s own operating system – Lotus Hyper OS. It’s designed to provide a seamless, high-quality experience with visual effects and interactive feedback for both driver and passenger.
At the centre of this is a 15.1 inch, HD OLED central touchscreen which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Displays can be customised on the touchscreen or driver display (driver information module), whilst thanks to a partnership with HERE Technologies, EV routing, range assistant and predictive routing are available. All systems are subject to regular over-the-air updates. LIDAR technology helps run the driver safety and assistance systems and will be continuously updated via OTA updates for evermore advanced autonomous driving.
Sound is another area that Lotus has focussed on with a standard 1380 watt, 15-speaker KEF system, or optional 2160 watt, 23 speaker system on the R, which delivers Dolby Atmos sound for the occupants. Speaking of occupants, as standard the Eletre is a five-seater, but the Executive Seat Pack removes the rear middle seat to make it a four-seater. Leather or a leather-free alternative can be specified for the upholstery, whilst carpets are 100 per cent recycled and recyclable.
There’s ample space inside thanks to a 3019mm wheelbase, whilst the boot has 688 litres of space where five seats are spec’d or 611 litres with four seats. With rear seats folded (available on the five-seater) there’s 1532-litres of room.
Lotus is aiming to start deliveries to European markets in 2023, with North America, Asia and the Middle East getting theirs in 2024. Prices start at £89,500 for the Lotus Eletre in the UK, rising to £104,500 for the Eletre S and £120,000 for the Eletre R. All cars come with a five-year, 100,000 mile warranty with European roadside assistance.
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