Electric cars

The 600-hp Lotus Eletre electric SUV is a Lotus like no other

The 600-hp Lotus Eletre electric SUV is a Lotus like no other

  • The new Lotus Eletre is an all-wheel-drive electric SUV with at least 600 hp.
  • It has an 800-volt battery with a capacity of over 100.0 kWh and a claimed range that equates to approximately 315 miles using the EPA cycle.
  • The Eletre will be built in Wuhan, China, and will reach the United States in 2024.

    Almost all street-legal Lotus models followed the same recipe for light and simple sports cars, with only a minority having more than two seats. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that the newly unveiled Életre is a groundbreaking departure for the Chinese-owned British brand: a high-performance electric SUV.

    Anyone expecting Eletre production to tie into existing Volvo and Polestar electric vehicles (all three brands are part of the Geely Group) has been wrong. The finished car sits on a Lotus architecture that is more advanced than the underpinnings of any of its cousins, which incorporates a new aluminum and high-strength steel structure and an 800-volt battery.

    While there are many technical aspects to discuss, it was undoubtedly the Eletre’s dramatic styling that made the biggest first impression when we got to see the show car at Lotus’ design studio. . It’s not a distant concept car, but rather what will soon become a purchasable model. It bears a strong resemblance to the Lamborghini Urus both of its front and side profiles. This comparison is also true when it comes to dimensions: although Lotus does not cite the Lambo as a benchmark or competitor, the 200.9 in length, 78.7 in width, 64.2 in height and 118.9 in wheelbase de l’Eletre are all within 0.7 inch of the corresponding Urus digits.

    Yet a closer inspection of the car at Lotus’ design studio in Coventry reveals that the Eletre has a more complex shape than the Lamborghini. Its sculpted form features a lot of what the styling team, led by former Ford and Volvo design boss Peter Horbury, describes as “porosity”. There are sizable openings in the fenders and sidewalls to help airflow over and through its low-drag shape. “As Colin Chapman once said, there’s nothing lighter than a hole,” Horbury said as he introduced CD to the car.

    The Eletre also benefits from active aerodynamics, including a closing grille shutter and a three-position rear spoiler. The huge wheels you see here are 23-inch rims, which will be optional – we’re told 22-inches will be standard in most markets. The official images don’t show them in their deployed state, but the Eletre also has lidar sensors that protrude from the bodywork and will allow for eventual high-level autonomous operation: there’s one at each end of the roof and two others that emerge from above the front wheel arches. Lotus promises that it will eventually be possible to summon the Eletre from a parking space, or return it to it, exclusively via a smartphone app.

    Other futuristic details include a camera-based side mirror system that will be offered in territories where permitted; conventional exterior mirrors will be standard in less technologically adventurous markets, including the United States. The full-width light bar on the tailgate has the ability to change to green or blue as well as red and amber. It will only use the legally permitted colors for brake lights and turn signals when the car is in motion, but it can also display a multi-color animation when the car is unlocked and will also show the battery charge status.

    The Eletre’s cabin is where it feels most different from other Lotus models, none of which featured milled bronze metal rocker switches or a reinforced hollow center console with LED backlighting. Company insiders say much of the interior has been designed with Chinese tastes in mind – the Eletre will be produced at a new factory in Wuhan – and China will account for a substantial percentage of sales. Still, the overall experience certainly feels upscale, with a stitched leather and microfiber dash and sports seats trimmed in high-density wool-blend fabric. As with many other futuristic electric vehicles, the Eletre’s steering wheel is far from round, but it also incorporates paddle shifters; the right one switches between drive modes and the left one between regeneration levels.

    Both four- and five-seat versions of the Eletre will be offered, with the latter having a single rear seat instead of the separate seats you see here. A full-length panoramic glass roof will be an option. It feels incredibly light and spacious for both front and rear seat occupants, the cabin’s forward proportions enabled by the absence of a conventional engine.

    Eletre’s user interface is new and, according to the design team, unrelated to the Google based system used by Volvo and Polestar. The studio car had a display system that demonstrated the crisp resolution of the massive 15.1-inch OLED center touchscreen, but we couldn’t test its functionality. Lotus promises that it will be possible to access 95% of the car’s systems with three screen inputs or less. It will also get a heads-up display with augmented reality overlays. An 800-watt, 15-speaker surround sound system will be standard, with a 23-speaker, 1500-watt system optional.

    We’ll have to wait for full powertrain details, but Lotus promises that even the less powerful Eletre will have all-wheel drive and at least 600bhp. The company is also skeptical about the exact battery capacity, saying it will have over 100.0 kWh of storage. Lotus claims it will sprint to 62mph in under three seconds and top out at 161mph. Lotus says it’s aiming for a range of 373 miles under Europe’s WLTP test protocol – which equates to around 315 miles under EPA methodology in the US – and that the Eletre can replenish two-thirds of its battery in 20 minutes at 350 -kW fast charger.

    Adaptive dampers and air suspension will be standard on all trims, the latter of which can raise the car’s ride height by up to 2.0 inches for off-road and lower it by 1.0 inches for improved stability. high speed. Other optional dynamic features will include carbon-ceramic brakes, rear axle steering and active anti-roll bar, but we’ll have to wait closer to the start of US sales for detailed US specs.

    Several details are obviously missing from the first communications. The first is the weight. While the company says the extensive use of aluminum and carbon fiber has reduced mass compared to a more conventional structure, we can still safely bet that the Eletre will be the beefiest Lotus ever. time: informed speculation suggests she will weigh approximately 5500 lbs. The other is the price, which is not yet confirmed, but we are told to expect the proximity of the Tesla Model X– suggesting a starting point of around $120,000 when the Eletre reaches the US in 2024.

    But one thing is already certain: the future of Lotus is very different from its past.

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