Lotus Eletre revealed – AWD electric SUV with at least 600 hp, 0-100 km/h under 3 secs, 600 km range

Last year’s Emira may have kickstarted the Lotus revival, but this is the car Hethel aims to rake the money in with. After decades of prototypes and false dawns, the company has finally revealed its first ever SUV – the all-electric Eletre.

Lotus calls this an electric hyper-SUV, a label that entails a certain level of performance. To that end, the Eletre will be offered with all-wheel drive with twin motors and a power output “from 600 hp”, enabling the car to get from zero to 100 km/h in under three seconds before reaching a top speed of around 260 km/h.

The car will also be available with a battery capacity of “over 100 kWh”, providing a range of around 600 km on the WLTP cycle. It will support up to 350 kW of DC fast charging power, putting in 400 km of range in just 20 minutes, while a 22 kW onboard charger will allow relatively fast AC charging.

The Eletre is the first of three “lifestyle” electric vehicles from Lotus, built on a purpose-built platform that utilises aluminium and high-strength steel in its construction for optimum rigidity. The 800-volt electrical architecture enables the aforementioned high charging speeds and features an integrated high-voltage power distribution system.

Lotus Eletre revealed – AWD electric SUV with at least 600 hp, 0-100 km/h under 3 secs, 600 km range

Lotus said it has committed to “outstanding dynamic performance” by placing skateboard-style battery and motors low in the car, delivering a low centre of gravity. The electric motors also integrates the controller and reducer to make the entire unit smaller and lighter, while a five-link rear axle, air suspension and adaptive dampers all come as standard. Buyers can also specify an active ride height function, rear axle steering, active roll stabilisation and torque vectoring via braking.

On the outside, the Eletre gets a low-slung (for an SUV, anyway) body with cab-forward proportions, short overhangs and a short bonnet that Lotus says is reminiscent of its trademark mid-engined sports cars. Other design cues include the L-shaped LED daytime running lights with sequential indicators (the main headlights are hidden in a blacked-out section lower down), an upswept window line and an in-vogue black roof. The leading edge of the front end runs all around the car, incorporating the slim, full-width taillights.

Aerodynamics play a big role in the styling of the Eletre, just like on the Evija hypercar. While there are no big tunnels for the air to flow through, Lotus says there is a “porosity” to the design, with details that include a slot in the grille that leads into the bonnet vents. Air is also guided through ducts aft of the front wheels, the D-pillars and the rear of the car. An active rear wing (à la Porsche Cayenne Coupé) is also fitted.

Lotus Eletre revealed – AWD electric SUV with at least 600 hp, 0-100 km/h under 3 secs, 600 km range

Elsewhere, there’s an active grille shutter at the front with distinctive triangular petals, along with flush door handles, a power-retractable charging port door on both front fenders, mirror-replacing side-view cameras (in markets that allow them), and a split rear spoiler that is claimed to reduce weight. On a big electric SUV? Surely not.

Break out the measuring tape and you’ll see that the Eletre is a very big SUV, measuring 5,103 mm long, 2,135 mm wide (including the side-view cameras) and 1,630 mm tall. In fact, it’s almost as long as a short-wheelbase Mercedes-Benz S-Class, as is its wheelbase of 3,019 mm. It’s no wonder it rolls on massive optional 23-inch two-tone alloy wheels, which come with carbon fibre aero inserts and hide ten-piston front brake callipers and carbon ceramic discs.

The Eletre also beats its stablemate the Polestar 3 in incorporating lidar sensors, and these are also retractable for the first time on a production vehicle. These are located at the top of the front and rear windscreens and over the front wheel arches, working with additional cameras on the side stalks to deliver enhanced autonomous driving capabilities.

At launch, the Eletre will be offered with autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane centring assist, lane keeping assist, lane change assist, front and rear cross traffic alert, reverse and parking AEB, traffic sign recognition, a door opening warning and a rear seat reminder. The car will also support over-the-air updates, adding further autonomous driving functions further down the line.

Inside, the Eletre features a minimalist interior with a layered horizontal dashboard that leads into the door cards, along with a tall “floating” centre console. A massive 15.1-inch OLED centre touchscreen dominates the cabin, which retracts when not in use and is equipped with a game-inspired interface that showcases a 3D model of the car; Lotus also says that users can reach 95% of the functions with just three taps.

This large display sits in between two slim screens for the driver and passenger, with the former being further supported by an augmented reality head-up display. While every function can be operated either through the infotainment system or voice control, certain functions are duplicated using physical switches. The car also comes with Range, Tour, Sport, Off-Road and Individual drive modes.

Particular attention has been paid to material choices, with the use of microfibre on the major touch points and wool-blend fabric upholstery that is said to be 50% lighter than leather. The carbon trim is made from the edge trimmings from carbon fibre production, compressed in a resin for a marble-like finish. Four- and five-seater layouts will be made available, the latter adding a nine-inch infotainment touchscreen.

As standard, the Eletre is fitted with a 15-speaker, 1,380-watt KEF Premium sound system, with a 23-speaker, 2,160-watt KEF Reference system available as an option. Also part of the options list is a panoramic sunroof and matrix LED headlights. An integrated 5G connection allows for remote functionality via a smartphone app and the ability to purchase new features as they become available.

The Eletre will enter production later this year at a new plant in Wuhan, China, with deliveries due to kick off next year for the Chinese, British and European markets. Registrations of interest for customers over here have also opened, according to Lotus Cars Malaysia on Facebook.

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