New Lotus Eletre to arrive with 450kW and £89,500 price tag

25 Oct 2022

The radical new Lotus Eletre SUV will launch next year with the brand’s first EV to arrive with a choice of two powertrains and a £89,500 starting price.

Lotus, which is now owned by Chinese car giant Geely, revealed the Eletre SUV in March and plans to build four new electric cars - including a performance saloon - by 2025. The Eletre is set to enter production at the end of 2022 at a new high-tech facility in Wuhan, China.

Three models will make-up the Eletre line-up: Eletre, Eletre S and Eletre R. The entry-level Eletre and mid-level Eletre S will get a 450kW, rear-wheel-drive powertrain, offering a range of up to 373 miles. 

The range-topping Eletre R meanwhile, gets a bigger 675kW dual electric motor and a four-wheel-drive set-up. Lotus says the flagship Eletre R delivers 727lb ft torque which helps to propel the electric SUV from 0-62mph in just 2.95 seconds. 

All versions will sit on a new platform called the Electric Premium Architecture (EPA), which has been developed by Lotus. The British marque claims that the ‘skateboard’ platform will result in ‘outstanding handling’. 

A 112kWh battery will power all models which can be charged from 10-80% in just 20 minutes using a fast charger. 

Starting from £89,500, the standard Eletre gets five drive modes, active air suspension, torque vectoring, LED headlights, active front grille and 22-inch wheels.

The mid-level Eletre S will start from £104,500 and gets a number of additional features including privacy glass, an active rear spoiler, ambient internal lighting, illuminated sills, soft closing doors KEF audio system. 

The flagship R variant commands an even bigger premium, costing from £120,000. It gets the Lotus Dynamic Handling Pack, Carbon Fibre pack and gloss black wheels as standard. 

Lotus says it has developed its new Eletre at the Nürburgring, with the demanding 13-mile circuit helping the firm refine the Eletre’s Track Mode, an exclusive feature of the range-topping R model. 

Vice-president of Lotus technology and managing director, Maximillian Szwaj, said the Nürburgring circuit has also played a role in the autonomous driving technology that features on the Eletre. 

On the outside…

Eletre, which apparently roughly translates as ‘coming to life’ in some European languages, was developed at the Lotus Technology Creative Centre (LTCC) in Coventry, where the overall interior and exterior designs were created and led by Ben Payne. 

The new model has a cab-forward stance, long wheelbase and very short overhangs front and rear, while the short bonnet echoes the styling cues of Lotus’ famous mid-engined layout.

A key aerodynamic element of the Eletre design is its ‘porosity’ – how air flows through the car as well as under, over and round it. Lotus says this was the the heart of the Evija and Emira designs, and ‘provided clear inspiration for the Eletre’. 

The focus on porosity means the Eletre will have less resistance when cutting through the air, which the firm claims will help to improve range and performance. 

At the front of the Electre air is channelled under the leading edge of the car and emerges through two vents in the bonnet. There are other examples of porosity behind the front wheel arches, behind the rear wheels, and even at the top of the D-pillar.

At the rear a light ribbon covers the full-length of the car's boot and shines red when the car is on the move. Like the Emira and the Evija the new SUV’s light ribbon curves into the air outlets from the wheel arches 

Another notable feature on the front of the car is the active front grille, which hosts a network interconnecting triangular petals. The grille remains closed when the car is stationary and open to feed air into the radiator and to cool the battery. 

On the inside…

The Hethel-based brand says the interior of the new Eletre will take Lotus to an ‘unprecedented new level’ featuring lightweight premium materials. 

As with most electric vehicles the new SUV will feature sustainable materials from supplier Kvadrat. The Kvadrat material is a man-made wool-blend fabric which is 50% lighter than traditional leather allowing for further weight savings. 

In keeping with the lightweight focus, carbon fibre features throughout the cabin and has used a new weave to allow for recycled carbon to be used for new matting in the footwell. 

The interior has a driver focused cockpit with a high centre console which is inspired by the Emira and Evija. 

Technology to impress…

The new SUV will be the first Lotus to feature Lidar technology, with deployable sensors positioned around the Eletre’s bodywork. The sensors are hidden above the windscreen and in the front wheel-arches while the rear sensor is fixed. 

Lidar technology means the EV will be eventually able to offer Level Four self-driving capabilities. This is most likely to benefit buyers in the Chinese market where autonomous driving is authorised. 

Inside the Eletre’s infotainment system promises to ‘set new standards in the automotive world’ with the use of intelligent technologies. 

Below the instrument panel is a blade of light that runs across the cabin which changes colour to communicate with the occupants, for example, if a phone call is received, if the cabin temperature is changed, or to reflect the vehicle’s battery charge status.

In front of the driver the traditional driver display has been reduced to a slim strip less than 30mm high to show key vehicle information, while in the middle of the dashboard sits a 15.1 inch landscape-orientated screen through which the infotainment system can be controlled. 

When not in use the screen automatically folds flat, while information can also be displayed through the head-up display featuring augmented reality (AR) technology. 

Lotus says it is using ‘Unreal Engine’ technology from the gaming industry to implement real-time 3D content into the user interface. 

Alongside this, the Hethel-based firm says its next generation digital head unit from tech company ECARX will make its debut on the Eletre. The system can reconfigure the user’s in-car experience by providing fully customisable displays, hosted by an advanced Driver Information Module (DIM) and a slim touchscreen. 

As a result, the new Eletre will be able to accept over-the-air (OTA) updates during its lifetime. 

Most functions can be operated using the digital screen but Lotus has added some analogue switches to make some functions easier to use. 

The door mirrors have been replaced by an Electric Reverse Mirror Display (ERMD) which houses three different cameras - one for the rear-view mirror, as second to help create a 360 degree view of the car from above and a third that is part of the intelligent driving technologies. 

The Eletre also comes with a smartphone app and 5G connectivity while over-the-air software updates will also be delivered. 

The new EV also gets Dolby Atmos paired with a KEF speaker system to deliver improved sound quality.

The Lotus Eletre is on sale now across global markets, with first customer deliveries in 2023 starting in the UK, Europe and China. 


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