The Lotus Eletre officially takes the British automaker in an entirely new direction.
Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to buy small, lightweight, British-built Lotus sports cars. The company is aiming for the future, though, and to that end you pretty much have to build a new SUV. And it should probably be electric — hence the forthcoming Lotus Eletre. It’s a radical departure from what we’ve known, and the Chinese-owned automaker (Lotus is a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co) is pulling out the stops with this high-performance SUV.
At first glance, at least, what’s the one car your mind immediately shifts toward? The company says this “momentous point in history” is a hyper-SUV through and through, so on that basis it may not be a bad move to style your car like a Lamborghini Urus. While full technical specs aren’t available yet, Lotus says the Eletre starts at 600 horsepower as well as standard all-wheel drive. Other headline figures include a 100-kWh battery pack good for up to 600 km (373 miles) of range using the WLTP cycle. Bear in mind, EPA range figures usually trail those figures by a fair bit, so we’d expect this car to manage somewhere just north of 300 miles on a charge.
Lotus says the Eletre (that’s “Elet-ra”, remember) can top out at 161 mph, and replenish up to 400 km (248 miles) of its range after about 20 minutes of 350 kW DC fast charging. It can also accept up to 22 kW AC charging, though you likely won’t find that sort of capability over here in the US just yet.
Riding on a 118.9-inch wheelbase, the 200.9-inch long crossover is 78.7 inches wide and 64.2 inches tall — all within about an inch of the Urus.
Simplify? Not quite — at least not by the on-paper features
We’ve come a long way from the days of tiny sports cars like the Elan and the Elise, and Lotus’ new SUV brings in the feature set you’d expect from a modern EV. Air suspension with adaptive damping is standard across the entire Eletre range, for example. You also get a 15.1-inch OLED display. As for entertainment, there’s an 800-watt, 15-speaker sound system as standard equipment. If that’s not enough for you, Lotus will also offer a 1,500-watt, 23-speaker sound system. Even better for blasting your ears out — it’s not like you need that sort of wattage to drown out the engine, right?
Throughout the rest of the interior, the new Lotus Eletre offers microfiber and wool-blend fabric, so you can argue there is some weight-saving going on here. Even so, the interior looks nice and luxurious, though you can glean the company’s intent to make this a driver’s car by way of the square-ish steering wheel.
“But what about those massive wheels on the outside?”, you might be asking. Those 23-inchers definitely don’t play into small, lightweight and nimble, but take heart. Those are the optional wheels. You get 22s as standard, because SUV. Beyond the sportiness — you can get carbon ceramic brakes, an “active” anti-roll bar and rear-wheel steering as optional extras — the Eletre’s air suspension can raise the car by two inches for more off-roading capability. If you want more sportiness, it will also lower itself by an inch to improve dynamics.
It will arrive in 2024, but no word on MSRP yet
Whether the thought of a Lotus SUV, let alone an electric Lotus SUV, offends your purist sensibilities, folks will undoubtedly take interest when the car arrives on U.S. shores in 2024.
How much will it cost? That’s tough to say at this point, and the automaker is tight-lipped on that part for the moment. Based on the existing competition — this car clearly has the Tesla Model X in its sights — it’s reasonable to expect a six-figure asking price for this experience. Lotus may undercut its rival by some margin or it could get confident and charge a premium…so don’t be surprised to see this car somewhere in the $110,000 to $130,000 range.
Lotus will build the Eletre at its new factory in Wuhan, China.
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