Premium sports car brand Lotus have launched their new Lotus Eletre electric vehicle (EV). Code named the Type 132, Lotus are calling their new zero-emissions vehicle a Hyper-SUV. Regardless of genre name, it’s hard not to be impressed by both the looks and performance of the Lotus Eletre.
The sleek-looking electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) takes the core principles and Lotus DNA from more than 70 years of sports car design and engineering and has evolved them into a new lifestyle car for the zero-emissions generation.
The Eletre delivers a significant number of firsts for Lotus. It’s the brand’s first five-door production car, the first model outside sports car segments, the first lifestyle electric vehicle and is the most ‘connected’ Lotus ever. Underneath, the Eletre remains a true Lotus in that it’s packed with pioneering technology, genuine sporting performance and simplicity of purpose.
The Eletre is a four-wheel-drive and has a battery capacity that’s over 100kWh and with power from 600hp. The car’s target driving range is an impressive 373 miles (600km) and using a 350kW charger will deliver 248 miles (400km) range in just 20 minutes. It also comes as standard to accept 22kW AC charging which, where available, reduces the time plugged in.
When it comes to on the road performance it’s hard not to be impressed. With 600hp of power, the Eletre has a top speed of 161mph (260kph) and can hit from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in less than three seconds. This really is a high performance electric SUV.
Matt Windle, Lotus Cars Managing Director, said: “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 front of the Eletre features a crisp leading edge that reveals a clear lineage with the Emira and Evija. Just above the leading edge are the slim and technical light clusters which house the Daytime Running Lights and scrolling directional indicators.
The main lamps, which are available with matrix technology to permit constant high beam use without affecting oncoming traffic, are neatly housed below, recessed and partially hidden.
Lower down is the Eletre’s active front grille, a network of interconnecting triangular petals that dominate the central section. Intricately designed, they remain closed when the car is at rest or open 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. It’s a further example of the car’s porosity and also offers aerodynamic benefits.
All the black components are finished in carbon fibre while the body panels are aluminium giving it an air of class. The Eletre’s bonnet continues smoothly round into the front wing and wheel arch.
The air outlets immediately behind the front wheels define the sculpted shape of the doors, each of which has a flush handle. The electrically opening cover for the charging port is fitted in the front wing, as are the deployable LIDAR sensors, one on each side and a world-first technology for the Eletre.
The aggressive angle of the windscreen is visible in profile, with a relatively narrow, glass area – and black cantrail above – which tapers away dramatically at the rear. This leads into a unique floating D-pillar featuring an innovative ‘air blade’ that aids drag reduction. At the rear, the full-width ribbon light strip picks up the feature line from the profile.
Ben Payne, who led the design of the Lotus Eletre, said: “The Eletre is a progressive all-electric performance vehicle embodying emotion, intelligence and prestige and, as the first of the brand’s lifestyle cars, it sets the standard for what will follow. We have taken the iconic design language of the Lotus sports car and successfully evolved it into an elegant and exotic Hyper-SUV.”
The interior is performance-oriented as you’d expect from Lotus and the technical design is visually lightweight using premium materials. It will be available with either four individual seats alongside the more traditional five-seat layout. Above, a fixed panoramic glass sunroof adds to the bright and spacious feeling inside.
Sustainability has been a core focus with the interior using premium feel and highly durable man-made microfibres on the primary touch-points and an advanced wool-blend fabric on the seats. It is 50 percent lighter than traditional leather, allowing for further weight savings adding to the overall efficiency of the Eletre.
The hard materials are carbon fibre, though rather than use the traditional ‘weave’ most often associated with automotive design, Lotus has recycled the fibres trimmed from the edge of the weave. These have been reconstructed into a new matting, then compressed in a resin to create the car’s premium marble-like finish.
The driver cockpit and high centre console are inspired by the Lotus Emira and Evija, creating a cossetted feeling. The Lotus philosophy of keeping this lightweight can be seen in the instrument panel by removing material if it’s not needed. The floating wing’s central section has been taken out, echoing the design of the rear spoiler.
Being an SUV there is plenty of practical storage space in the Eletre’s cabin. The centre console includes a storage tray with wireless charging for mobile phones, as well as twin cupholders that sit flush to the surface until required. The neatly sculpted door design includes storage that will take a litre bottle.
This smart design continues into the rear of the car, with space in the doors and between the two chairs. There is a central draw at knee height and the armrest splits behind the two cupholders. It ends in an angled nine-inch touch-screen for infotainment, with a wireless charging tray beneath.
The infotainment experience in the Eletre is said to set new standards in the automotive world, with pioneering and innovative use of intelligent technologies. The result is an intuitive and seamless connected experience. It is a collaboration between the design team in Warwickshire and the Lotus team in China, who have huge experience in the fields of User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX).
Maximilian Szwaj, Vice President of Lotus Technology and Managing Director, LTIC, said: “The Eletre is packed with relevant technologies which take Lotus to a new level in the premium lifestyle segment, and also sets new standards across the global automotive landscape.
“ADAS technologies such as LIDAR sensors and cameras will become increasingly common on new cars as we move into a more autonomous era, and to have the world’s first deployable LIDAR system on the Eletre is a signal of the technology vision we have for Lotus.
“This car has tech for today, and also for tomorrow, as it’s been developed to accept OTA updates as standard. I’m hugely proud of what the LTIC team, working in close collaboration with colleagues in China, has achieved.”