Lotus has pulled the wraps from its first electric SUV, the Eletre, confirming starting prices and a three-tier model lineup in the process.
Said to take “the soul” of Lotus’ newest sports car – the Emira – and the aerodynamic performance of the British brand’s all-electric Evija hypercar (note the rear, roofline ‘tunnels’ that provides cleaner airflow), the new Eletre is built on a new 800-volt Electric Premium Architecture developed in tandem with parent company Geely.
All three editions feature two e-motors – one for each axle – mated with a 112 kWh battery. But while both the entry level Eletre and the mid-range Eletre S produce a combined 603 hp and 524 lb-ft, the range-topping Eletre R boasts a more dynamic ‘dual-speed system’ that hikes power and torque to a staggering 905 hp and 726 lb-ft respectively. The latter’s performance is suitably ferocious, the Eletre R capable of 0-100 km/h in 2.95 seconds en-route to a 265 km/h top speed, compared with its sister models’ more ‘pedestrian’ 4.5-second sprint and 258 km/h.
Such performance potentially lines the Lotus Eletre R – marketed as “the world’s fastest dual-motor pure electric SUV” – up against an upcoming electric alternative to Lamborghini’s Urus and/or Bentley’s Bentayga, as well as the newly launched BMW XM.
Unsurprisingly, that added grunt does affect electric range, with the Eletre R’s 490 km estimate unable to challenge the 600 km of which the Eletre and Eletre S are capable. Having said that, the EV-dedicated architecture does feature DC fast-charging, meaning the batteries of all three can be topped up from 10 to 80 per cent in just 20 minutes.
The dimensions of all three are also identical, the Eletre measuring 5,103 mm (16.7 ft) in length, 2,231 mm (7.3 ft) wide, and 1,630 mm (5.3 ft) high – add an extra 6mm on that if you want the optional 23-inch wheels – with a 3,019 mm (10 ft) wheelbase underneath. The e-SUV features active air suspension and 22-inch, 10-spoke wheels are standard.
Extensive use of carbon fibre and aluminium in the structure trims excessive weight, with even the 15.1-inch OLED touchscreen at the heart of the ‘intelligent cockpit’ infotainment system said to be stripped back to its bare minimum to save a few extra kilograms. This is particularly significant, given recent tests of the Eletre at the Nürburgring and the “performance targets” set by Lotus. The Eletre R, for example, features carbon-ceramic brakes and a Dynamic Handling Pack as standard, the latter of which also features Track Mode. This system automatically lowers the ride height, adopts more “performance-orientated settings” for the dampers and anti-roll controls, and provides launch control for more immediate power and torque.
As is de rigueur with new EVs, the cabin has been made using environmentally-friendly “state-of-the-art alternative to leather,” and recyclable man-made fibres in the carpet and boot liner.
Prices for the Eletre start at £89,500 (just under $140K), with the Eletre S available from a slightly higher £104,500 (around $163,400) courtesy of privacy glass, an active rear spoiler, more extensive ambient lighting and a larger 23-speaker surround sound system.
The Eletre R, meanwhile, ups this further to £120,000 (around $187,600), featuring as it does gloss black detailing around the wheel and sports pedals, as well as bespoke ‘R’ badges. “Thousands of customers around the world” are said to have already placed deposits, though Lotus stops short of providing actual figures.
Customer deliveries are expected to begin in Europe during the first half of 2023.