A revitalised Lotus will soon introduce something very different from its typical fare: a 5.1-metre long electric SUV.
The Lotus Eletre, at least in Europe and the UK, will be offered in three different variants with two different powertrains.
“The Eletre is intended to come into the Australian market,” said a spokesperson for Lotus’ Australian distributor.
“We are currently working on the basis of arrival some time in 2024.”
Local pricing and specifications have yet to be finalised.
European and the UK will be among the first markets for the Eletre, with deliveries to begin in the first half of 2023.
The SUV range will consist of Eletre, Eletre S and Eletre R variants, all of which use a 112kWh battery.
The base model and Eletre S produce 450kW of power and 710Nm of torque, good for a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds.
These models have 600km of claimed range under the stricter WLTP test cycle, however this is with the 20-inch wheels – a no-cost option – and not the standard 22-inch wheels.
The dual-motor Eletre R has 675kW and 985Nm, slashing the 0-100km/h time to 2.95 seconds but reducing the range to 490km.
Lotus says it’s the fastest dual-motor electric SUV with a top speed of 265km/h, though Tesla claims a quicker 0-100km/h time for its Model X Plaid of 2.6 seconds.
The R comes with Track Mode, which offers a lowered ride height, more performance-oriented settings for the dampers and anti-roll control, a fully open active grille, and launch control.
The company says it will take just 20 minutes to charge any Eletre from 10 to 80 per cent using a DC rapid charger. It has an 800V architecture and can support DC charging at up to 350kW.
The Eletre’s focus is arguably as much on its technology as it is performance.
The active safety and driver assist features are supported by LiDAR technology, and support for over-the-air updates means the system “will be fully ready when individual market regulations allow for the more advanced levels of AD”.
Lotus also says it still plans to introduce technology that would allow customers to drive the Nurburgring circuit autonomously.
All models feature a 15.1-inch OLED centre screen running Lotus Hyper OS. The system runs on two Qualcomm 8155 System-On-Chips, and Lotus has used the Unreal Engine – a game engine better known for its use in Fortnite – to provide real-time 3D content.
Lotus promises its operating system offers best-in-class visual effects and interactive features.
A Digital Head Unit from global mobility tech company ECARX debuts on the Eletre, offering fully customisable displays and an ultra-slim floating one-billion colour OLED touchscreen.
Lotus says the platform offers “server-level computing power”, and can be continuously updated during the car’s lifetime with over-the-air updates.
Navigation services, including an EV range assistant and predictive routing, are also updateable over-the-air. These have been provided by HERE Technologies, the Eletre is the first car to combine audio technology from Dolby Atmos and KEF Audio.
Elsewhere in the interior, you’ll find a leather substitute, plus a new man-made fibre for the carpets and boot liner that’s both 100 per cent recycled and 100 per cent recyclable.
When it comes to dimensions, the Eletre is far removed from Lotus’ current models.
It measures 5103mm long, 2135mm wide with camera mirrors or 2231mm with conventional mirrors, and between 1630mm and 1636mm tall.
It sits on a 3019mm wheelbzase and has between 187mm and 194mm of ground clearance.
Overall, it’s just 50mm shorter nose-to-tail than a BMW X7, and 231mm wider.
Luggage capacity is 611L with four seats or 688L with five seats, expanding to 1532L with the second row folded.
The company has detailed pricing for the UK and European markets.
In the UK, it’ll start at £89,500 (A$159,924) in base guise, rising to £104,500 (A$186,775) for the Eletre S and £120,000 (A$214,490) for the Eletre R.
For reference, a BMW iX M60 – perhaps the closest thing to an Eletre rival currently – retails for £116,905 in the UK.
While local specifications have yet to be announced, the standard Eletre will come with the following in Europe and the UK:
- Active air suspension
- Torque vectoring
- Matrix LED headlights
- Active front grille
- 22-inch forged wheels
- 15.1-inch OLED touchscreen
- 15-speaker 1380W KEF Premium sound system
- 12-way power front seats
- Four-zone climate control
- Wireless phone charging
Optional is an Executive Seat Pack with four (instead of five) seats.
Lotus says there are five different wheel designs, six interior designs, six brake caliper colours, and an initial selection of six exterior colours. The latter comprises Natron Red, Galloway Green, Stellar Black, Kaimu Grey, Blossom Grey and Solar Yellow.
The Eletre S adds:
- Configurable ambient lighting
- Privacy glass
- Active rear spoiler
- Soft-close doors
- Illuminated side sills
- 2160W 23-speaker KEF Reference sound system
Finally, the Eletre R adds:
- Lotus Dynamic Handling Pack
- Carbon Fibre Pack
- Gloss black wheels
- Stainless steel pedals
- High-performance tyres
You can add the R’s two included packs to other Eletre models, along with other option packages like the Comfort Seat Pack and Ceramic Brake Pack.
Optional driver assist technology comes in the available Parking Pack and Highway Assist Pack.
The company says the Eletre “takes the soul of the latest Lotus sports car – the Emira – and the revolutionary aero performance of the all-electric Evija hypercar, and reinterprets them as a Hyper-SUV”.
“The launch of the Eletre is the natural next step for Lotus. Two-seater sports cars are not for everyone, and we want to offer a Lotus for every stage of your life. The Eletre is the start of that,” said Matt Windle, group vice president and managing director of Lotus Cars.
MORE: Everything Lotus Eletre