After so many teasers, we finally get to see the Lotus Eletre in all of its glory. This is the second battery-electric vehicle in the British brand’s product offensive, its first SUV, and the first vehicle on a new BEV-specific platform. Like other Lotus models that came before it, the Eletre applies the brand’s core principles and sports car expertise and applies it on a crossover to appeal to a broader range of consumers. Lotus’ famous ride and handling, steering, and aerodynamic work have been utilized on a BEV and reinterpreted for a utility vehicle application. This also marks the first time Lotus built a vehicle with more than two doors and will see the brand enter a new segment.
Built on the new Electric Premium Architecture (EPA platform), the Lotus Eletre features dual-motor AWD with over 600 hp and a battery pack featuring a capacity of over 100 kWh. The company is targeting a WLTP driving range of 600 km or 373 miles. Expect that to be lower when the crossover gets tested on the more conservative EPA cycle. The Eletre’s charging speeds will be among the highest since it can DC charge at peak rates of up to 350 kW thanks to its 800-volt architecture. Even its level 2 AC charging rates are quite quick since its onboard charger is capable of accepting up to 22 kW.
To optimize the Eletre’s ride handling, Lotus employs a five-like rear suspension. It’s also available with an air suspension with continuously controlled damping, rear-wheel steering, an active anti-roll bar, and brake-based torque vectoring. Four drive modes that let you individually change the settings for the steering, dampers, powertrain, and accelerator pedal response are standard. They include Range, Tour, Sport, Off-Road, and Individual modes.
Lotus touts that the Eletre possesses the most advanced active aerodynamics package of any production SUV. It will also feature the world’s first deployable lidar system and a dynamic welcome sequence whenever the driver approaches the vehicle. The new EPA platform, which can underpin compact to full-size vehicles, was developed to accommodate a wide range of battery sizes, electric motors, and tech features, making it super versatile. It will also underpin a new sedan code-named the Type 133 and a smaller crossover, the Type 134. These three vehicles fall into the “lifestyle” performance vehicle category of upcoming Lotus models that are intended to sell in higher volumes.
Like many electric crossovers, the Eletre features a wedgelike shape to enable it to slip through the air as efficiently as possible. Its front end is reminiscent of Lotus’ sports cars like the Emira and Evija, complete with a tiered headlight layout. In the back, you’ll find a dramatically angled rear window, full-width LED taillights a retractable spoiler, and what appears to be two small fixed wings extending from the roof. Throughout the exterior of the vehicle, you’ll also find lots of openings, which are likely thereto improve downforce and aerodynamic performance.
The Eletre’s cabin has a minimalist design just like the majority of new BEVs. A massive 15.1-inch OLED touch screen dominates the dash but you don’t get a traditional gauge cluster. Instead, you get a narrow display showing key vehicle information and an augmented reality head-up display. Two audio systems from British brand KEF will be offered, a standard 15-speaker setup with 1,380 watts or an optional 23-speaker unit with 2,160 watts.
A full suite of driver assistance features will be available on the Eletre. This includes adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, cross-traffic alert, and lane-keeping assist. Its deployable lidar sensor and integrated hardware support end-to-end autonomous driving technology, futureproofing the crossover for further development. The Eletre is capable of receiving over-the-air (OTA) updates, enabling it to get upgrades and new features without going to a dealer’s service department.
Lotus appears to have followed Volvo and Polestar’s lead in ditching animal products because the Eletre’s interior uses materials like wool-blend fabric. However, Lotus is doing this to cut weight while retaining the interior’s premium feel. Recycled fibers that have been repurposed and used as trim pieces are also found throughout the cabin. The steering wheel, on the other hand, is highly stylized with metallic-looking buttons on each spoke and regeneration paddles behind it. You find a storage area under the center console since the crossover has an electronic gear selector. The Eletre appears to have four individual bucket seats as standard but we wouldn’t be surprised if a five-seat configuration is also available.
The Lotus Eletre will be the first vehicle to be built outside of the United Kingdom at a new facility in Wuhan, China. Its development, however, was done by a global team led by engineers from the United Kingdom and supported by colleagues in China, Sweden, and Germany. The Eletre is on sale now for consumers in China, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Deliveries start in 2023 for those three regions. Expect an announcement for the North American model to follow soon.