The Lynk & Co 01 SUV has already made its debut – almost three years ago now, in fact, so what is the Geely sub-brand’s model doing in development mule clothes? A disguise for Lotus’ own forthcoming SUV, it would seem. The British sports car maker has been reported to take on a two-pronged approach to its SUV offensive, likely to rival the sloping-roofed likes of the BMW X4 and the X6.

This particular development vehicle sports a high voltage warning sticker, and some tape around a panel blank where the fuel filler flap used to be. Could this be another fully-electric model to come from Lotus? The first full EV from Hethel would be the Type 130, which has been slated for debut on July 16.

The forthcoming Lotus SUV will attempt to stay true to its sporting roots as much as possible, and the cutaway wheel arches indicate room has been made for larger rolling stock than is fitted to the Lynk & Co 01 it currently takes its body from. A broader overall footprint will be the order of the day for the Lotus, not just for roadholding benefits but also for a lower-slung, sportier look.

The use of the Lynk & Co 01 bodywork is a natural fit as Lotus’ then-CEO Jean-Marc Gales said last year that Lotus will use a mix of ‘new and proven Geely modules’ for its SUV which will most likely be built in China. Components and platforms including Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) – the latter underpins the Lynk & Co 01 – has been said to form the basis of the SUV.

The move to pure electric drive as indicated by the Type 130 represents a new direction for the Hethel-based sports car maker, though little is currently known with regard to specific powertrain details. Given its history and the performance from the likes of the Mercedes-Benz EQC and Jaguar I-Pace, Lotus’ own entry likely isn’t going to be slow.

GALLERY: Lotus SUV patent drawings