Electrification isn’t the only new thing Lotus is trying.
The British marque unveiled its latest vehicle on Tuesday, an all-electric SUV called the Eletre. The vehicle is a true outlier for the Lotus, but if it can deliver on what’s been promised it will more than live up to the brand’s high-performance reputation.
We may have known it was coming but it really can’t be stressed how much of a departure the Eletre is for Lotus. The automaker’s vehicles tend to be two things: sports cars and two-seaters (although a few have featured four). The Eletre is neither of these things, but Lotus’s largest vehicle—it’s 16.7 feet long, 6.6 feet wide and 5.4 feet tall, according to the brand—still has the kind of flamboyant design enthusiasts expect from the brand. It may not be as aggressive as the company’s first EV, the Evija hypercar, but it’s bold, with a heavily sculpted body that looks athletic and fast. It features a dramatic lighting package from front to back, multiple active aero elements, including a three-position rear spoiler, and sits relatively low to the ground on a massive set of 23-inch rims. It chunkier than its predecessors, but like Lamborghini’s Urus, it’s an SUV that will actually turn heads.
The Eletre’s cabin is spacious, something that’s rarely, if ever, been said of a Lotus interior. Up front, you’ll find a relatively spartan leather and microfiber-covered dashboard broken up only by a digital gauge cluster behind the squared-off steering wheel and a large, 15.1-inch OLED infotainment screen positioned above the center console. There you’ll also find two sports seats covered in advanced wool-blend fabric. In the back, you’ll have your pick of two seats or a three-person bench. Other creature comforts include LED backlighting, a 15-speaker surround sound audio system (you can upgrade to 23 speakers) and an optional panoramic glass sunroof.
Lotus is calling the Eletre a “hyper-SUV” and it’s easy to see why. In addition to its stylish design it also looks as if it’ll be a powerhouse. We’ll have to wait for the full engineering details, but it’s built on the brand’s proprietary Electric Premium Architecture platform, which combines an aluminum and high tensile steel chassis with an 800-volt battery pack, with more than 100-kWh of battery capacity. There will eventually be three versions available, each of which will feature two motors, one on the front axle, another on the back, according to the brand. The least powerful variant will produce at least 600 hp, accelerate from zero to 62 mph in less than three seconds and top out at 161 mph. Adaptive dampers and an air suspension will come standard.
Just as impressive as the Eletre’s baseline power figures is a driving range of 373 miles (although, as Car and Driver points out, that figure would likely be closer to 315 using the EPA’s rigid testing process). When you do need to top up the battery, Lotus says you’ll be able to add 248 miles of range in just 20 minutes when connected to a DC fast charger. It still takes less time to fill a vehicle with gas, but that short of a charging time could prove to be a real difference maker, especially on long trips.
Although it has the kind of flamboyant design you’d expect of a concept, Lotus plans to put the Eletre into production—and relatively soon. The brand expects to start selling its hyper-SUV by the middle of next year. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but there are reports that it’ll start at around $100,000.
Whatever the cost, we have a feeling quite a few drivers will be interested.
Check out more photos of the Eletre below: