Lotus is associating a lot of high claims and superlatives with its newest all-electric offering, the Eletre, which the British carmaker is calling a “hyper-SUV”.
The manufacturer is also calling it the “most advanced Lotus” ever, blending “comfort, performance and cutting-edge luxury design with sustainable materials”, and in its ongoing transformation into a global performance business and brand, Lotus has reached its most significant milestone yet with Eletre’s arrival.
So what’s so special about it?
Well, from the looks of the newly announced car, it seems a lot’s going on here. At first sight, Lotus Eletre appears to be a pretty modern but standard mid-sized crossover, almost like the MG4 or the Kia EV6, with its stylish rising headlamps and sleek, aggressive grill.
A long, extended row of LEDs light up the rear, again very similar to a lot of the smart SUV coupé look fashionable in the market today, most visibly apparent in models like Volkswagen ID.5 and the latest Polestar.
However, underneath the sporty stylish look sits a mean machine, or at least that’s wha9t we gather from Lotus’ claims.
Lotus says that Eletre “takes the heart and soul of the latest Lotus sports car – the Emira – and the revolutionary aerodynamics of the all-electric Evija hypercar, and reinterprets them as a hyper-SUV”.
To start with, it comes packaged with a state-of-the-art, 800-volt, 112kWh Lithium-ion battery pack, as opposed to the conventional 400-volt systems. It helps save weight, enhance power efficiency and improve thermal management.
Integrating light and compact electric motors into the front and rear axles provides incredible performance and also makes Eletre the first all-wheel drive Lotus road car – a significant milestone in the brand’s evolution.
All three models on offer, Eletre, Eletre S and Eletre R, come with a single-speed transmission on the front axle, but the latter also features a two-speed design on the gear ratios, giving drivers a good balance of launch performance and acceleration, together with enhanced efficiency and range at high speeds.
What’s the end result? These electric drive units are reported to deliver astonishing new levels of performance to the SUV segment, together with remarkable efficiency.
With 603hp and 710Nm of instant torque, the Eletre and Eletre S can accelerate from 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in only 4.5 seconds and go on to a maximum speed of 258km/h (160mph). Both can achieve a WLTP range of up to 600km (373 miles). Pretty good in our opinion.
And then there’s the Eletre R, with an incredible 905hp and 985Nm. This one covers the benchmark sprint in ‘ridiculously-quick-for-SUVs’ just 2.95 seconds and can reach 265km/h (165mph), while WLTP range is 490km (304 miles). Does it make Electre the fastest dual-motor electric SUV? Lotus says so, and we think it checks out.
There are more benefits too: effortless, instant torque and all-wheel drive traction delivered by the two electric motors, together with active air suspension, also brings a completely new dimension to Lotus ownership: the ability to carry on driving where the road ends, and to tow up to 2,250kg.
The Eletre also offers charging to match its range and performance. All models feature a 22kW onboard AC charger as standard: customers with a 22kW wall box at home should be able to fully replenish the battery from 0-100 per cent in less than six hours – ideal for overnight charging.
But that’s not the USP. The Brit manufacturer’s SUV claims to charge from 10 to 80 per cent in just 20 minutes and add up to 120km of range via charging in just five minutes.
The car also has a 5G-capable state-of-the-art infotainment system that uses Lotus Hyper OS to deliver an intuitive and immersive experience for all occupants.
Mike Johnstone, Group Vice-President and Chief Commercial Officer, Lotus, commented: “Like every Lotus, the Eletre is first and foremost a car ‘For The Drivers’. Its DNA is 100% Lotus, with exceptional dynamic performance. It’s also the most advanced Lotus ever, blending that performance with comfort, practicality, versatile space, cutting-edge tech and modern luxury design into a vehicle that brings the Lotus experience to a whole new group of customers for the first time.”
Mike added: “We know that two-seater sports cars are not for everyone, but the fantastic experience of driving a Lotus should be. The Eletre, plus the other fully electric lifestyle models that we’ve already announced, are providing customers and fans with a range of highly desirable Lotus cars that can fulfil all their needs at different times of their life. It’s a natural progression for the brand and a hugely exciting one because Lotus is about delivering the very best performance no matter what segment the car sells in.”
So there’s your Eletre, but is it, after all, an SUV from the outside but a sports car at heart? It might be right to say so. Even Lotus says: “It takes the core principles and Lotus DNA from 75 years of sports car design and engineering, evolving them into a desirable all-new lifestyle vehicle.”
“It’s aimed at a new generation of Lotus customers; those who value the world-class dynamic performance and striking design which have always been part of the Lotus experience, and who also need a practical, versatile and spacious family-focused vehicle – one that’s packed with the latest digital technology to make their driving life safer and more convenient.”
But of course, with all good things, there’s a caveat. And the caveat here is the price. The Lotus Eletre is available to order now, but it starts from £89,500 in the UK and €95,990 elsewhere in Europe — a very steep ask for a crossover. But again, it’s not just any crossover SUV, it’s a hyper-SUV.