UK-based sports car manufacturer, Lotus cars, has officially unveiled details of its long-teased “Type 132” electric SUV. Today the brand announced that the EV will be nicknamed the Eletre (pronounced “El-etra”) – calling it “the world’s first hyper-SUV”. We now have a slew of new specs and features to ponder.
Lotus goes electric
Lotus Cars currently exists as a segment of the Lotus Group, which also includes Lotus Engineering and Lotus Tech. Although founded by two Britons in the late 1940s, Lotus is majority owned by a Chinese multinational conglomerate. Geely Holding Group Co., Ltd. since 2017.
Early last year, Geely announced a development plan with Alpine as part of a joint venture with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance to develop electric vehicles and the platforms on which they will be based. This strategy built on Lotus’ earlier developments on its first all-electric hypercar – the 2,000 hp Evija.
In April 2021, the British automaker announced plans to produce electric-only vehicles by 2028, including a timeline to deliver four bespoke electric vehicles from 2022:
- 2022 – Launch of an E-segment SUV named Type 132
- 2023 – Launch of a four-door E-segment coupé, Type 133
- 2025 – Continue with the Type 134, a new D-segment SUV
- 2026 – Launch of an all-new electric sports car, the Type 135
Since then, Lotus has teased tiny crumbs of what drivers can expect to see from the Type 132 EV, but nothing juicy enough to share with you readers so far. Now, however, we have our first look at the upcoming Lotus Eletre hyper-SUV, along with some of its target specs.
Lotus officially unveils the Eletre electric hyper-SUV
During a livestream outside the UK earlier today, Lotus Cars publicly pulled the foiling of its new electric SUV, the Eletre. According to Lotus, the Eletre takes the heart and soul of its Emira sports car and mixes it with the all-electric hypercar Evijato create a whole new category of hyper SUV.
As well as being Lotus’ first-ever SUV, the all-electric Eletre will deliver other firsts for the automaker. When manufacturing begins later this year, the Eletre will arrive as Lotus’ first five-door production vehicle, as well as its first lifestyle electric vehicle.
The UK/China-based automaker is already touting the Eletre as the most ‘connected’ Lotus vehicle ever, but before we dig into that, let’s relay some of the shared performance specs.
According to Lotus’ press release following the reveal event, the Eletre will be four-wheel drive and is built on a new dedicated 800V electric architecture that includes a 100+ kWh battery. The result is 600 HP, a top speed of 260 km/h (161 mph) and a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in under three seconds.
The Eletre’s ‘maximum target’ WLTP range is currently 600 km (373 miles), although you might expect an EPA range to be less than that. In terms of charging capabilities, the new Lotus electric SUV can travel 400km (248 miles) in 20 minutes from a 350kW charger and can accept 22kW AC charging as standard when available.
The front of the Eletre will feature a deployable LiDAR sensor above the windshield as well as either side of the EV. The side mirrors have been replaced with Power Reverse Mirror Displays (ERMDs), housing three separate cameras – one for the rearview mirror, one to create a 360-degree view of the SUV and a third that is part of the EV’s intelligent driving. technologies.
Lotus said smart driving cameras combined with LiDAR sensors will deliver self-driving capabilities to the Eletre, but to what extent remains unclear at this stage.
The body panels are all aluminum, while the black components are finished in carbon fiber. Both techniques were chosen to reduce the overall weight of the hyper-SUV. The front grille features a bunch of interconnected triangular petals that can open while driving to cool the electric motors.
The front lights feature matrix technology and scrolling direction indicators, while the rear houses unique ribbon light strips that can appear in four different colors, as shown in the video below.
Inside, the Eletre will be available in four- and five-seater versions, located under a fixed panoramic sunroof. The automaker’s focus on durability will be present throughout the vehicle’s interior, where materials consist of synthetic microfibers and a wool-blend seat fabric. Hard materials are carbon fiber again.
The cockpit and aft section contain OLED touchscreens and trays for wireless phone charging, as well as vital cup holders. Lotus adds:
Below the dash, a blade of light runs through the cabin, sitting in a ribbed channel that widens at each end to create the air vents. Although it appears to float, the light is more than decorative and is part of the human-machine interface (HMI). It changes color to communicate with the occupants, for example, if a phone call is received, if the cabin temperature is changed or to reflect the state of charge of the vehicle’s battery. Below the warning light is a “technology ribbon” that provides information to front seat occupants.
The new Lotus electric SUV comes with a 1,380-watt, 15-speaker setup with Uni-QTM and KEF-standard surround sound technology. That being said, customers have the option to upgrade to KEF Reference, a 2,160-watt, 23-speaker system with Uni-Q and 3D surround sound technology.
Finally, the cockpit will provide the driver with easy access to Eletre’s ADAS and other infotainment features, all of which can be continuously updated via live updates. Gavan Kershaw, Director, Product Attributes and Integrity at Lotus, spoke about the upcoming Eletre electric SUV as a whole:
Dynamically, the Eletre has been developed to deliver everything you expect from a Lotus – exceptional ride and handling, highly communicative steering and exceptional driver engagement. Performance-wise, we know the world is watching, so there’s been an obsession to make everything perfect. Everyone is delighted with it – it’s a world-class product and a real Lotus.
There are plenty more dynamics and features to unveil here, so be sure to check out the full press release. One thing you won’t find though is the pricing. Those numbers will be revealed at a later date closer to production this year. For now, you can watch the video presentation of Lotus de l’Eletre below:
It’s wonderful to see another automaker go all-in on electric vehicles, even if it’s a smaller operation like Lotus. While the Evija blew me away on the specs of an all-electric hypercar, the Eletre feels more “hype” than hyper.
Yes, it’s an SUV, so it won’t be able to perform as a sports car given its size and weight. And honestly, the Eletre specs are nothing to scoff at. But calling it a “hyper-SUV” sounds more like a marketing ploy than a statement about the performance of this future electric vehicle.
Although it does better than Tesla’s Model X and Model Y performance in range and speed (pending that official EPA rating), it’s not much. Without forgetting the Pattern X Poster would beat it in a race (but lose in the overall lineup – again, we’ll see what the EPA rates). That being said, these SUVs are not marketed as hypercars, but provide similar specs.
How these vehicles really stack up will depend on price, a factor that has yet to be shared by Lotus. This number could be decisive for the Eletre to attract affluent consumers in a growing segment of luxury and performance electric vehicles. The 90+ years of brand recognition should also help.
This is just the beginning for Lotus Cars and its journey towards electrification by 2028, so I’m sure we’ll see even more exciting technology in the future. The Evija and Eletre are off to a great start, and I’m personally excited to take a closer look at these current and upcoming Lotus EVs to report back to you all. What are your first impressions ? Let us know in the comments below.
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