There is a lot to be suspicious about the new electric SUV from Lotus since this is an iconic British name known for lightweight sports cars and not massive SUVs. However, Lotus has turned a new leaf. We should be glad that the Eletre exists only to sign the cheques for the development of more sports cars.
SUVs set the cash registers ringing and that’s the case for Lamborghini, Porsche, Bentley and now even Ferrari is entering the game. For the rejuvenated Lotus brand – a company with a troubled past – an SUV was the need of the hour. A lot rests on the board shoulders of the sharply styled Eletre. Dubbed as a ‘Hyper SUV’ it’s a new lifestyle hypercar that shows the direction on which Lotus is going to take.
The new Lotus: More design flexibility with the EV
For now, let’s take in the Eletre because there is a lot at stake here and a lot to digest for any die-hard Lotus fan. We know Lotus as the maker of flaky British sports cars which were known for their driving purity. The Eletre isn’t flaky and isn’t small by any means. The swoopy styling hides the visual mass. It is as big as a gas-powered Lamborghini Urus.
The lack of a petrol engine gives the designer more flexibility while here you can see the distinct cab-forward stance along with the short overhangs. The angry looking snout and chiselled sides are very much like the Evija hypercar. And the tapered roof-line/full length LEDs adhere to the latest SUV design rulebook. Massive wheels further add muscle to the stance. The Eletre isn’t a beautiful car but it belongs to a genre where beauty is not needed as presence is very much the order of the day.
Market introductions in 2023
The ‘key’ is a smartphone app which Lotus has infused in a theatrical sequence when you approach the car. The grille ‘breathes’. The lights deploy a ‘sequence’ and the illuminated flush door handles are deployed. It’s very Bond-esque. Naturally, standard door mirrors don’t make the cut as there are a swarm of cameras around you including a 360-degree one for parking.
The interior takes a big leap forward in terms of design or quality. Lighter materials are used in the upholstery. Sustainability is the latest buzzword and leather is passe. The Eletre uses durable man-made microfibre for all touch points. Elsewhere, wool-blend fabric is used. The driver display is a seamless digital unit and looks cool. A massive OLED touch-screen controls all functions. Unlike a Tesla, you still get a few analogue buttons though. In terms of its equipment list, you get ADAS autonomous features, an optional 2,160-watt 23-speaker system with Uni-Q and 3D surround sound technology and OTA updates, to name just a few.
Lotus: Power output of 600 bhp
At the heart of the matter, the Eletre packs in a large 100kWh battery capacity with a total power output of 600bhp. That’s the entry-level version as more power models are also in the offing. Being 4WD, you get four drive modes namely: Range, Tour, Sport, Off-Road and Individual.
Standard equipment includes air suspension and Continuous Damping Control (CDC). A WLTP range of 373 miles is targeted. And while no doubt it would be a fast SUV, it would not be entering without any competition since its main rival would be the Model X from Tesla to the hotter versions of the Mustang Mach-E.
Lotus electric car: Muscle-like stance
China, UK and Europe get the Eletre first while other market introductions follow after 2023. While on paper, the Eletre looks to be an impressive SUV, it doesn’t stand out in any particular way. And there is also a question mark as to how far it strays from the traditional Lotus values. However, the same question was asked regarding the Porsche Cayenne and we all know how that went.
Hence, the Eletre could be the most important car ever made by Lotus and also bring in the cash to develop more slinky sports cars like the Emira. We can live with that…