Lotus has pulled the covers off the all-new Eletre: the world’s first fully-electric Hyper-SUV with 350kW charging and 370 miles of range.
The all-new and all-electric Lotus Eletre will be available from next year, with manufacturing to begin at ‘all-new hi-tech’ facility in China later this year.
Labelled as “bold, progressive and exotic, with iconic sports car DNA” by the team behind the new hyper-SUV, the Eletre will offer 350kW charge time of just 20 minutes for 248 miles of range, with a target driving range of 373 miles on full charge.
The Eletre, known until two days ago only by its Lotus codename, Type 132, is 4WD, has a battery capacity that’s over 100kWh and with power from 600hp. This will help the Eletre achieve its party-piece of a 0-62mph time of less than three seconds.
Matt Windle, Managing Director of Lotus Cars, 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.”
Lotus has confirmed that the Eletre will be the first in a new range of premium lifestyle performance electric vehicles to be built at an all-new state-of-the-art production facility in Wuhan, China. The cars design has been led by the UK, supported by collaborative work with teams in China, Sweden and Germany. The overall exterior and interior design has been led by an international team based at the Lotus Tech Creative Centre (LTCC) in Warwickshire, UK.
It will also be built on Lotus’ all-new and highly versatile Electric Premium Architecture (EPA), which will be the basis for an all-new range of premium lifestyle performance electric vehicles from Lotus.
The Eletre is the latest in a long line of Lotus road cars whose name begins with the letter E, and means ‘Coming to Life’ in some Eastern European languages.
“The Eletre is a progressive all-electric performance vehicle embodying emotion, intelligence and prestige,” according to Ben Payne, who led the design for the Eletre. “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.”
With the ambition of creating a ‘high-riding sports car’ rather than an SUV, Lotus adopted the ‘carved by air’ design ethos which also inspired the Evija and Emira.
A signature element of the design is its ‘porosity’ – the aerodynamic principle of air flowing through the car as well as under, over and around it. It is most obvious where air is channelled under the leading edge of the car, emerging through two exit vents in the bonnet above. There are other examples of porosity ahead of and behind the front wheel arches, behind the rear wheels, and even at the top of the D-pillar. For the driver there are clear benefits to porosity – less resistance in cutting through the air, delivering a more efficient journey in terms of improved vehicle range, speed and performance.
At the front of the Eletre, there are very sharp and crisp leading edges, with very 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 housed below, recessed and partially hidden.
The design of the front grille, which consists of a network of interconnecting triangular petals, will remain closed when the car is at rest or when there’s a need to reduce drag during driving. Whilst the car is moving, the pattern will open to feed air into the radiator, cooling the electric motors, battery pack and front brakes.
Lotus claims the Eletre offers “the most advanced active aerodynamics package on any production SUV” and the angular rake of the windscreen which flows seamlessly all the way to the D-pillar and innovative ‘air blade’ at the rear of the car intensifies that claim. This design feature is another example of porosity and is an aerodynamic performance enhancement taken directly from the front bumper of the Emira.
Other noticeable design features include a deployable LIDAR sensor mounted at the top of the windscreen, a full-width ribbon light at the rear, and door mirrors that have been replaced by Electric Reverse Mirror Display (ERMD), which house three different cameras – one for the rear-view mirror, a second to help create a 360-degree view of the car from above to aid parking, and a third that’s part of the intelligent driving technologies.
As is the case with most modern electric vehicles, the interior of the Eletre features an array of sustainable materials. The interior uses premium feel and highly durable man-made microfibres on the primary touchpoints, and an advanced wool-blend fabric on the seats. The hard materials are from recycled carbon fibre, with the entire interior designed to maximise weight savings.
Once again drawing inspiration from the Evija and Emira, the cockpit is driver-focused with a higher centre console, and a triangular-themed décor that mirrors the design of the front grille.
An intuitive light bar will also run across the cabin, which will change colour to communicate with occupants when, for example, a phone call is received, if the cabin temperature is changed, or to reflect the vehicle’s battery charge status.
The Eletre will also feature a 15.1” OLED touch-screen infotainment unit, with a drivers head-up display which offers augmented reality (AR) technology, which is standard equipment on the car.
The latest connectivity technology, including 5G compatibility, is part of the Eletre package. This enables continuous connection to the car via smartphone app, OTA software updates and the ability for customers to purchase new features enabled via software as they become available. A smartphone app for Eletre owners will include access to driving logs, vehicle and charge status, remote features, location services and a host of other functionality.
“Dynamically, the Eletre has been developed to deliver everything you would expect from a Lotus – outstanding ride and handling, highly communicative steering and exceptional driver engagement,” said Gavan Kershaw, Director of Attributes and Product Integrity at Lotus.
From a performance perspective, we know the world is watching so there has been an obsession with getting everything just right. Everyone is delighted with it – it’s a world-class product and a true Lotus.”
The Eletre is built on an all-new 800v dedicated electric vehicle architecture with integrated, high-voltage power distribution system. This architecture uses aluminium and high tensile steel for optimum structural rigidity. The flat ‘skateboard-style’ battery pack and electric motors are close to the ground to create a low centre of gravity. The high energy density of the battery pack aims to achieve the best possible balance of performance and driving range.
There are two electric motors, one driving the front wheels and another driving the rear wheels. A three-in-one electric drive system integrates each motor with a controller and reducer, an efficient design which makes the unit smaller and lighter – a very Lotus solution.
The car has five-link suspension at the rear for optimised ride and handling, while standard equipment includes air suspension and Continuous Damping Control (CDC). Active ride height, active rear axle steering, an active anti-roll bar and torque vectoring via braking are all available.
The car comes with four drive modes, which adjust the steering, damper settings, powertrain and accelerator pedal response. The modes are Range, Tour, Sport, Off-Road and Individual, and are standard on all versions of the car.s
Through the Eletre’s suite of LIDAR sensors, the cars Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) support end-to-end autonomous driving technology and is future-proofed for further development, achievable because of the hardware that’s already integrated. Further capability can be added via OTA software updates, as and when it is allowed by local market regulation.
Maximilian Szwaj, Vice President of Lotus Technology and Managing Director, LTIC, commented: “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.”