- The new Lotus Eletre is an all-wheel-drive EV SUV with at least 600 hp.
- It has an 800-volt battery with more than 100.0-kWh of capacity and a claimed range that equates to about 315 miles using the EPA cycle.
- The Eletre will be built in Wuhan, China and will reach the U.S. in 2024.
Almost all street-legal Lotus models have followed the same recipe for light, simple sports cars—with only a minority featuring more than two seats. So it’s no exaggeration to say that the freshly unveiled Eletre is a revolutionary departure for the Chinese-owned British brand: a high-performance electric SUV.
Anyone who expected the production Eletre to be related to the existing Volvo and Polestar EVs (all three brands are part of the Geely Group) has been proved wrong. The finished car sits on a Lotus architecture which is more advanced than the underpinnings of any of its cousins, one that incorporates a new aluminum and high tensile steel structure and an 800-volt battery pack.
While there are many technical highlights to discuss, it is undoubtedly the Eletre’s dramatic styling that made the biggest first impression when we got to see the show car at Lotus’s design studio. This isn’t a far-out concept car, but rather what will soon become a purchasable model. It bears a strong resemblance to the Lamborghini Urus from both its front end and side profiles. That comparison holds true when it comes to dimensions too: Although Lotus doesn’t cite the Lambo as either a benchmark or a competitor, the Eletre’s 200.9 in length, 78.7 in width, 64.2 in height, and 118.9 in wheelbase are all within 0.7 inch of the corresponding Urus figures.
Yet closer inspection of the car in Lotus’s Coventry design studio reveals the Eletre has a more complex form than the Lamborghini. Its sculpted shape features lots of what the styling team, led by former Ford and Volvo design boss Peter Horbury, describes as “porosity.” There are sizeable apertures in the fenders and flanks to ease the passage of air over and through its low-drag shape. “As Colin Chapman once put it, there’s nothing as light as a hole,” Horbury said as he introduced C/D to the car.
The Eletre also gets 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 that 22-inchers will be standard in most markets. The official images don’t show them in their deployed state, but the Eletre also has lidar sensors which rise out of the bodywork and will allow eventual high-level autonomous operation: there is one at each end of the roof and two more that emerge from above the front wheel arches. Lotus promises it will ultimately be possible to summon the Eletre from a parking space, or return it to one, exclusively through a smartphone app.
Other futuristic details include a camera-based side mirror system which will be offered in territories where this is permitted; conventional door mirrors will be standard in more technologically unadventurous markets including the U.S. The full-width light bar on the liftgate has the ability to change green or blue as well as red and orange. It will only use legally permitted colors for stop lights and turn signals when the car is moving, but it will also be able to display a multicolor animation when the car is unlocked and will also indicate the battery charge status.