By on March 30, 2022

A Lotus EV? If British electronics are involved, isn’t a Lotus EV going to be useful only as a paperweight?

I kid, I kid. Lotus, however, is dead serious — the Lotus Eletre is here, and the company calls it “the world’s first electric Hyper-SUV”.

Cutting through the press-release hyperbole, we see that Lotus is building the first of three planned new EVs, with plans to launch all three over the next three years.

Key specs include a power output that starts at 600 horsepower, a battery pack with a 100 kWh capacity, a 350kW charge time of 20 minutes that will give you 248 miles of range, and an overall maximum range of about 373 miles. Lotus also claims a 0-62 mph time of under 3 seconds.

The battery pack and electric motors are “skateboard” style, meaning they’re close to the ground to keep the center of gravity low. There are two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and one driving the rear. The suspension is five-link at the rear, and the car has a standard air suspension and damping control. Adjustable ride height, anti-roll bar, torque vectoring, and rear-axle steering are available.

Drive modes include an off-road mode.

The company will use Lidar as a base for advanced driving-assistance aids (ADAS), and carbon-fiber and aluminum (say it in a British accent, it’s fun) are used heavily in an effort to reduce weight.

Manufacturing will begin at an all-new plant in Wuhan, China later this year. Yes, that Wuhan.

The company’s release sure isn’t short of hyperbole. To wit: “A momentous point in our history” – Matt Windle, MD (Managing Director, we assume), Lotus Car.

“The Eletre, our Hyper-SUV, is for those who dare to look beyond the conventional and marks a turning point for our business and brand” – Qingfeng Feng, CEO, Group Lotus

I suppose Windle isn’t totally wrong — a Lotus SUV was once nigh unthinkable. But the world is changing, and Lotus is changing with it.

Other key features include a rear spoiler that deploys at speed, flush door handles, a choice between four or five seats, a fixed panoramic sunroof, wireless cell-phone charging, ambient lighting that communicates various things, such as level of battery charge; voice-recognition controls; digital and analog controls; premium audio; a thin gauge cluster; fold-flat infotainment screen; and a head-up display that uses augmented reality.

Various ADAS features, some of which can be updated over the air, include smart cruise control, collision-mitigation support, front and rear cross-traffic alert, traffic-sign information, lane-change assist, lane-keep aid with lane-departure warning and prevention, and child-presence detection.

A Lotus SUV. We’ve lived to see the day.

[Images: Lotus]

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23 Comments on “Lotus Eletre SUV Unveiled, More Lotus EVs Planned...”

  • avatar
    SD 328I

    They are pulling a Porsche Cayenne, and if the results equal what it did for Porsche’s sports cars, I’m all for it.

  • avatar

    I would love to see how sells are once people realize where it’s built.

  • avatar

    So from simplify and add lightness to electrify and add weight.

  • avatar

    If you built this with say 200hp motors, they would operate more efficiently more of the time. Same battery pack I assume would increase range. Not to mention be more affordable. This comes from a guy who is more than happy to drive around in my 120hp Elan.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Tim, you misspelled aluminium. I will overlook any use of tire for what should be written as tyre. But draw the line at aluminium. The American need to remove vowels reached its nadir with GMs use of ‘gages’. It is a trend that should be reversed. Thankfully the USA has not succumbed to the use of the Napoleonic metric system. Long live miles, gallons, and other traditional forms of measurement.

  • avatar

    This horsepower (kilowatt?) race is obscene, out of control, and pointless. Also, it’s no longer innovative. With the torque an electric motor provides, the equivalent of 200-250HP is plenty.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s still true that people talk horsepower but drive torque. But kWh for an electric car also refers to range. More is better, just like having enough gas in the tank to drive through Chicago without having to stop.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s hard to call this “the world’s first electric Hyper-SUV” when the Model X has been with us since 2016.

    It might get 310 miles EPA, which is pretty good. Nice profile, but I’m not a fan of the angry nose.

    But the big question is: What distinguishes this from the sea of other electric SUVs coming our way? And, how will Lotus be solvent if they’re selling this in ultra-low volumes?

  • avatar

    So, Lotus, a British brand, is going to charge over a hundred grand for a car built in…CHINA?

    And I thought Audi had balls charging Deutschland Uber Alles money for stuff built in Mexico.

    Hard pass.

  • avatar

    I wonder if all those sensors can “see” my little fiberglass Elan? I ask because I’m sure they will show up on some club drive. Maybe I’ll just stay behind it just in case.

    • 0 avatar

      I read somewhere else that this new Eleter thing weighs 5500 lbs. Which would be typical of something this size in your pork belly BEV land.

      A nice Elan weighs about 1590 lbs wth half tank of fuel, according to The Motor test of week ending March 6 1971. That was an SE model sporting 126 bhp. The weight as tested with two adults and test gear was 1994 lbs. Payload 25% of curb weight! O-60 in 6.7 seconds, quarter 15.2 @ 89mph. All this on 4 1/2 inch rims and 155-13 tires.

      Third gear:
      30 to 50 mph 4.5 seconds
      40 to 60 mph 4.2 seconds
      50 to 70 mph 4.3 seconds
      60 to 80 mph 4.6 seconds

      Third gear max was 86 mph at 6800 rpm. I believe that is what was once known as a broad torque curve or powerband, seeing as to how wind resistance really starts biting at 40 mph.

      Point is, that’s as quick as most average schlub crossovers today, easily. Now load up your RAV4 with 25% of its curb weight, say 950 lbs and see it groan.

      On the other hand, ditch the 200 lb passenger in the Elan. and you have a pretty darn quick little bucket. On ramp rushes to merge, no problem.

      No matter how you slice it, lugging around a ton or more, literally, of batteries hardly seems a brilliant idea to me, which is why I subscribe to the hybrid idea over BEVs. Pity Chapman hadn’t lived a bit longer. I loved his dictum, “add lightness — a hole weighs nothing.”

      • 0 avatar

        More importantly for the club drives, say 200+ miles often times spirited is sure to drain those batteries. And, we aren’t going to wait around for you to charge back up.

  • avatar

    If they could somehow connect this to Colin Chapman spinning in his grave, they could power it well-nigh indefinitely.

  • avatar

    It is from the company that screwed up revolutionary DMC?

  • avatar

    Beautiful interior, some extremely clever engineering worthy of the Lotus name. But, wrapped in an SUV form factor. The problem with SUVs is that it’s very difficult to tell a $250,000 one from a $45,000 one out in the world. They all have the same envelope shape, the same hard-points the same length of overhangs.

  • avatar

    If, when walking up to the Lotus, the remote trunk release on the key fob takes four extra pushes on the button to open and then you load some food in the trunk that will get cooked by the engine nearby on your short drive home, and then you must literally crouch and hop over a foot wide sill into a too small seat all the while hoping the car will start and when it does, it takes five minutes of going through cryptic menus to do a simple thing and then the car gets hotter because the A/C has gone on holiday and the check engine light comes on again…If none of that happens with your new Lotus, then it’s not a real Lotus.

    Their new motto: Lotus. We weed out the weak.

    I want to imagine a crossover Exige. Like everyone else, jack it up a few inches and add some black plastic trim. But keep it Lotus-like. Racing seats that cause back pain after 30 minutes. Buttons that control critical things like ignition buried between the seats somewhere. A door sill so high and wide that women with short skirts on have to be extra careful. Light fiberglass, plastic windows, and still powered by a Corolla engine. Be different Lotus. You have all of the time in the past.

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