The 600-horsepower version of the first Lotus SUV announced earlier this week and expected to arrive in the United States in 2024 will be just an entry-level model.
The new Lotus Eletre is a four-wheel drive EV SUV with a minimum output of 600 horsepower.
It has an 800 volt battery with a capacity of more than 100.0 kWh and a claimed range equivalent to about 315 miles using epa cycles.
Eletre will be built in Wuhan, China and will arrive in the United States in 2024.
UPDATE 31/3/22: The 600 hp Lotus Eletre revealed this week will simply be lotus’ SUV’s entry model, with the top 900 hp model coming in the next few years, according to Top Gear. The most advanced Eletre will add a second 300 hp electric motor on the rear axle, reducing the sprint time of 60 mph to even lower below the three-second mark.
Almost all legal Lotus models on the street follow the same formula for simple, light sports cars — only a few have more than two seats. So it’s no exaggeration to say that the newly launched Eletre is a revolutionary start for the Chinese-owned British brand: a high-performance electric SUV.
Anyone expecting the production of Eletre to be related to Volvo and the existing Polestar EVs (all three brands belong to the Geely Group) has been proven wrong. The finished car sits on a Lotus architecture, more advanced than the foundation of any of its brethren, combining a new high-strength aluminum and steel structure and an 800 volt battery pack.
While there are many technical highlights to discuss, certainly Eletre’s impressive styling made the biggest first impression when we went to see the car show at Lotus’s design studio. This is not a far-fetched concept car but a model that will soon become a buyable model. It bears a strong resemblance to the Lamborghini Urus from both the front and side parts. That comparison is also true when it comes to size: Although Lotus doesn’t consider Lambo a benchmark or competitor, 200.9 lengths, 78.7 widths, 64.2 height and Eletre’s 118.9 wheelbase are all in the range of 0.7 inches of the respective Urus figures.
Lamborghini. Its sculptural shape has so many characteristics that the styling team, headed by Peter Horbury, design director of Ford and Volvo, describes as “porosity”. There are large apertures on the fenders and flanks to make it easy for airflow to pass through and through its low drag shape. “As Colin Chapman once said, nothing is as light as a hole,” Horbury said when introducing the C/D to the car.
The Eletre also has an active aerodynamics, including shutters closed on the grille and rear spoilers of three positions. The giant wheels you see here are 23-inch rims, which will be optional — we’re told that 22-inch rims will be standard in most markets.
The official images do not show them in the deployed state, but the Eletre also has lid sensors protruding from the bodywork and will allow automatic operation at the final high level: there is one at each end of the roof and two more emerge. from the front wheel arch. Lotus promises to eventually be able to recall the Eletre from a parking lot or return it to one, exclusively through a smartphone app.
Other future details include a camera-based side mirror system that will be provided in the territories that allow this; Conventional door mirrors will be standard in markets without higher technology including the United States. It will only use legally allowed colors for stoplights and turn signals when the car is moving, but it can also display multicolored animations when the car is unlocked and will also indicate the battery charging status.
Eletre’s cabin is the one that feels the most different from other Lotus models, none of which have a copper cast metal control switch or an empty center console with a button with LED backlighting. Those in the company say that the majority of the interiors are designed to Chinese preferences — the Eletre will be made at a new factory in Wuhan — and that China will account for a significant proportion of sales. However, the overall experience certainly feels premium, with stitched leather and a microfiber panel and sports chairs decorated with high-density wool-brewing fabrics. As with many other future EVs, the Eletre’s steering wheel does not have a rounded shape, but it also integrates paddles; the right switch the drive mode and the left switch between the regeneration levels.
Both the four- and five-seat versions of the Eletre will be offered, the second with a single rear bench in place of the separate seats you see here. An option with a panoramic glass roof is as long as possible. It gives an impressively light and spacious feel to both the front and rear occupants, the forward cabin ratio allows when there is no conventional engine.
Eletre’s user interface is new and according to the design team, it has nothing to do with the Google-based system that Volvo and Polestar use. The studio car has a display system that demonstrates the clear resolution of the giant 15.1-inch OLED central touchscreen, but we can’t test its functionality. Lotus promises to be able to access 95% of the car’s system with three or fewer screen inputs. It will also have a face-to-face display with augmented reality overlays. The 15-speaker 800 watt surround sound system will be standard, with the option of a 23-speaker 1500 watt system.
We’ll have to wait for details on the full powertrain, but Lotus promises that even the most powerful Eletre will have all-wheel drive and at least 600 horsepower. The company is also keeping a similar secrecy about the exact capacity of the battery pack, saying it will have more than 100.0 kWh of storage. Lotus claims it will sprint to 62 mph in less than three seconds and reach speeds of 161 mph. Lotus says it is targeting a range of 373 miles under the European WLTP test protocol — the equivalent of about 315 miles under the EPA method in the United States — and Eletre can add two-thirds of the battery in 20 minutes at 350-kW of fast charging.
Adaptive dampers and pneumatic suspension will be standard equipment on all versions, the second version can raise the vehicle’s cruise height by up to 2.0 inches when running terrain and reduce 1.0 inches to improve stability at speed. Other optional kinetic features will include carbon-ceramic braking, rear-wheel drive and active anti-tipping bars — but we’ll need to wait until we’re close to starting sales in the U.S. for detailed U.S. specifications.
Some details were clearly missing from the initial communications. The first is weight. Although the company says that the widespread use of aluminum and carbon fiber has reduced the volume compared to the more conventional structure, we can rest assured of betting that the Eletre will be the most powerful Lotus of all time: speculation suggests it will be around 5500 pounds. The other issue is the price, which has not yet been confirmed,
but we were told it would cost close to the Tesla Model X — proposing a starting price of around $120,000 when the Eletre arrives in the United States in 2024.
But one thing is for sure: Lotus’s future looks very different from its past.
This story was first published on March 29, 2022.