This is it: the first-ever Lotus SUV. And, as if that sentence wouldn’t blow enough Boomer/Gen-X minds on its own, there’s more. It’s not just Lotus’ first-ever SUV, it’s a 100% electric Lotus SUV. Meet the Lotus Eletre. The storied British brand was bought by Volvo parent company, Geely, and this is its first big-budget attempt to boost its sales and grow its industry footprint with a more “mainstream” offering (the Lotus Carlton, while spectacular, was built on a shoestring budget).
The company has high hopes that the Eletre will do for tiny Lotus what the Porsche Cayenne did for Porsche — and, while the fact that it’s electric might make it seem like a Tesla competitor, it’s incredibly different. Most notably, perhaps, in the way it approaches autonomous driving: as an afterthought. Qingfeng Feng, Group Lotus CEO, reaffirms Lotus’ role in a human-driven future. “The Eletre, our Hyper-SUV, is a new performance car from an iconic performance car brand and it will appeal to independent-minded and adventurous driving enthusiasts – those who love the thrill of driving. It is a unique combination of beautiful design, exceptional dynamic performance and everyday usability, for those who dare to look beyond the conventional, and marks a turning point for our business and brand.”
The Eletre is built on Lotus’ Electric Premium Architecture (EPA) platform (not totally dissimilar to the Zeekr chassis). Lotus says its low-to-the-ground design translates into “outstanding handling.” Which, like, it better — because outstanding handling is what the Lotus name means to lots of people.
Isuzu Impulse RS
The look, in my opinion, is striking. It combines a number of visual cues from the 2000 HP electric Lotus Evija, as well as a number of hardpoints from the Volvo XC40 without looking particularly derivative or “strained” into its new proportions in the way that, say, a Mustang Mach-E looks like an inflated sportscar.
Peter Horbury, Senior Vice President, Executive Advisor, Design, Lotus, seems to feel the same way. “The Eletre is a rare creative opportunity in performance car design—the chance to start with a blank sheet of paper and develop an all-new vehicle that takes a brand in a completely fresh direction. There has been a close working relationship and much collaboration between the Lotus design studios in Warwickshire and Hethel. The result is a ‘Hyper-SUV’ that is genuinely different to what’s on the market; The electric powertrain has inspired a ‘cab-forward’ design that echoes the iconic mid-engined layout of Lotus sports cars, creating a unique look and position in the SUV segment. The arrival of the Eletre signals the start of a new era of pure electric SUVs.”
The design is more than just pretty, too. The electric Lotus SUV proves the company is stepping up its sustainability game as well. “Sustainability has been a core focus of the design team, which has worked with leading supplier Kvadrat on material choices,” reads the official press release. “The interior uses premium feel and highly durable man-made microfibers on the primary touchpoints, and an advanced wool-blend fabric on the seats. It is 50% lighter than traditional leather, allowing for further weight savings. The hard materials are carbon fiber, though rather than using the traditional ‘weave’ most often associated with automotive design, Lotus has recycled the fibers trimmed from the edge of the weave.”
0-60 performance is expected to be in the 3 second range, with a 100 kWh battery pack that should be good enough to take the electric Lotus SUV as far as 370 miles on a full charge (in the European cycle – expect a -350 ish mile EPA estimate if and when the Eletre comes Stateside). Pricing hasn’t been announced, but if you have to ask…
Electric Lotus Eletre Gallery
|Power and performance|
|Power (hp)||from 600|
|Top speed (km/h / mph)||c. 260 / 161|
|0-100km/h (secs)||< 3.0|
|Max range WLTP (km / miles)||c. 600 / 373|
|Width with Electric Reverse Mirror Displays||2,135|
|Width with door mirrors||2,231|
Source | All Images: Lotus Cars.
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