The re-imagining of Lotus a a global performance brand has picked up speed with the launch of the all-new Lotus Eletre, a fully electric Hyper-SUV.
The Eletre takes the heart and soul of the latest Lotus sports car – the Emira – and the aero performance of the all-electric Evija hypercar, and reinterprets them as a Hyper-SUV.
The Eletre delivers a significant number of firsts for Lotus – the first five-door production car, the first model outside sports car segments, the first lifestyle EV, the most ‘connected’ Lotus ever – yet it remains a true Lotus, packed with technology, genuine sporting performance and simplicity of purpose.
The Eletre is 4WD, has a battery capacity of 100 kWh and with power from 447 kW. A 350kW charger will deliver a 400 km range in just 20 minutes. The car’s target maximum WLTP driving range is 600 km.
Technology includes the most advanced active aerodynamics package on any production SUV and intelligent driving technologies such as the Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system in a production car.
Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, says: “The Eletre is a bold and revolutionary new car, delivering on our commitment to move Lotus into completely new automotive segments as we widen our global appeal and accessibility.
“This is a momentous point in our history and a clear signal of our ongoing desire to transform our business. It is a true Lotus, and we’re confident it will delight performance car customers and offer a distinct alternative to the segment’s established players. The Eletre has the soul of a Lotus and the usability of an SUV. Alongside the Emira sports car, this is the perfect two-car garage from Lotus.”
The Eletre is the first in a new range of premium lifestyle performance electric vehicles to be built at an all-new state-of-the-art production facility in Wuhan, China. The car has been ‘Born British, Raised Globally’, with design led by the UK, supported by collaborative work with teams in China, Sweden and Germany. The overall exterior and interior design has been led by an international team based at the Lotus Tech Creative Centre (LTCC) in Warwickshire, UK.
The Eletre is the latest in a long line of Lotus road cars whose name begins with the letter E, and means ‘Coming to Life’ in some Eastern European languages.
Pressing the button on the key or smartphone app activates the car’s exterior lights that run through a short sequence, the active front grille ‘breathes’ and the illuminated flush door handles deploy. The experience is repeated inside the car as the door closes behind the occupant.
Ben Payne, Head of Studio at LTCC, says: “This walk-up sequence is a ‘peacock moment’ – a little ‘showing-off’ that highlights the Eletre’s engaging personality. It’s a visual expression of a car coming to life, and a metaphor for the reinvention of the Lotus business and brand which begins with the Eletre.”
A signature element of the design is its ‘porosity’ – the aerodynamic principle of air flowing through the car as well as under, over and around it. Porosity was at the heart of the Evija’s design, is integral to the Emira, and has provided clear inspiration for the Eletre.
It is most obvious where air is channelled under the leading edge of the car, emerging through two exit vents in the bonnet above. There are other examples of porosity ahead of and behind the front wheel arches, behind the rear wheels, and even at the top of the D-pillar. For the driver there are clear benefits to porosity – less resistance in cutting through the air, delivering a more efficient journey in terms of improved vehicle range, speed and performance.
The Eletre’s active front grille is a network of interconnecting triangular petals that dominate the central section. Intricately designed, they remain closed when the car is at rest or when there’s a need to reduce drag during driving. They open in a distinctive pattern to feed air into the radiator, allowing the Eletre to ‘breathe’ when cooling of the electric motors, battery pack and front brakes is required.
Each door mirror is replaced by an Electric Reverse Mirror Display (ERMD), which houses three different cameras – one for the rear-view mirror, a second to help create a 360-degree view of the car from above to aid parking, and a third that’s part of the intelligent driving technologies.
The driver-focused cockpit and high centre console are inspired by the Lotus Emira and Evija, and the centre console includes a storage tray with wireless charging for mobile phones, as well as twin cupholders of different sizes which sit flush to the surface until they’re needed.
While every element of the Eletre can be controlled digitally, certain key controls are duplicated with analogue switches – another nod to the simplicity for which Lotus is famed. Voice control through advanced speech recognition technology is also available.
Technology is used for much more than infotainment on the Eletre. It is also at the heart of the car’s suite of intelligent Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), many of which are designed to be futureproof so new features can be enabled via Over The Air (OTA) updates.
The Eletre is available with Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Collision Mitigation Support Front (CMSF); Traffic Sign Information (TSI); Door Open Warning (DOW); Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA); Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA); Lane Change Assist (LCA); Children Presence Detection (CPD); Lane Keep Aid with Lane Departure Warning / Prevention (LKA+); Parking Emergency Brake (PEB); Collision Mitigation Support Rear (CMSR); and Emergency Rescue Call (E-Call). There are i-Size child seat anchor points on the outboard rear seats.
The latest connectivity technology, including 5G compatibility, is part of the Eletre package.
Gavan Kershaw, Director, Attributes and Product Integrity, Lotus, says: “Dynamically, the Eletre has been developed to deliver everything you would expect from a Lotus – outstanding ride and handling, highly communicative steering and exceptional driver engagement. From a performance perspective, we know the world is watching so there has been an obsession with getting everything just right. Everyone is delighted with it – it’s a world-class product and a true Lotus.”
The car has five-link suspension at the rear for optimised ride and handling, while standard equipment includes air suspension and Continuous Damping Control (CDC). Active ride height, active rear axle steering, an active anti-roll bar and torque vectoring via braking are all available.
The car comes with four drive modes, which adjust the steering, damper settings, powertrain and accelerator pedal response. The modes are Range, Tour, Sport, Off-Road and Individual, and are standard on all versions of the car.