Lotus’ Electric Eletre SUV Is a Radical Departure

Lotus’ Electric Eletre SUV Is a Radical Departure

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Lotus pulled the cover off its electric Eletre crossover, which the automaker says will boast more than 600 hp and hit 60 mph from a standstill in under 3 seconds.The Eletre also sports a more luxurious cabin than is typical of Lotuses past.The Eletre, which bears a resemblance to the Lamborghini Urus, is similar in size to the Italian super-ute, but should come in significantly below the Lambo’s $225k sticker.Lotus has already committed itself to full electrification, the move previewed by the Evija EV hypercar the British sportscar maker put into limited production last year. Now we’re seeing the first electric Lotus aimed at a wider audience, an all-wheel-driven EV crossover that will have more than 600 hp and a sub-3 second 0-60 mph time. Meet the Eletre.Lotus’s tradition of starting all of its models with the letter ‘e’ inspired the unusual name, which means ‘coming to life’ in Hungarian. But your first thoughts on seeing the official pictures are likely to be more Italian, with the Eletre bearing a strong resemblance from both front and side to the Lamborghini Urus. It is similarly close on dimensions, too—with the Lotus’s 200.9-in (5103 mm) length being just 0.4 in less, its 64.2-in (1630 mm) height 0.3 in shorter, and its 118.9-in (3019 mm) wheelbase 0.6 in longer. While we don’t have finalized US pricing for the Lotus, we can safely predict it will cost considerably less than the $225,000 Lamborghini—so there’s the first win right there. Related Stories Here’s What the Lotus EV Future Looks Like Lotus Emira Ends ICE Era in Fine-Handling Fashion Future Lotus EV Could Be a Nod to the Esprit Closer examination of the Eletre in Lotus’s design studio in England shows it actually possesses a more complex form than the Urus thanks to what its design team refer to as porosity—there are substantial gaps in hood, front fenders, and rear bumper to help sculpt the flow of air over the car. “As Colin Chapman once put it, there’s nothing as light as a hole,” says Peter Horbury, Lotus’s design director. Aerodynamics are further managed by an active rear wing element and a closing shutter in the grille. While all design work has taken place in the UK, the Eletre is set to be produced in a new Lotus factory in Wuhan, China. Underneath the Eletre sits on an all-new architecture which features both steel and aluminum structure and aluminum and carbon fiber panels. Lotus confirms this isn’t related to the Compact Modular Architecture that sits beneath smaller Volvo models as well as the Polestar 2, despite the fact that all three European brands are part of the Chinese Geely Group. Nor is it the new platform which Lotus is developing for its next generation of EV sports cars. VIEW PHOTOS` Lotus While Lotus hasn’t released an official weight figure yet, company insiders suggest the production Eletre will be around the 4400-lb mark. That would make it the heaviest road-going Lotus—six times the mass of the original Lotus 7—but would still qualify it as being lightweight by the standards of its hefty segment, more than 880 pounds lighter than Audi e-tron Sportback or Tesla Model X. Related Stories Lotus Shows Off Its Modular EV Platform Lotus Ends Production of Elise, Exige and Evora Radford 62-2 Is a Stunning Lotus Transformation The powertrain uses a new 800-Volt architecture, and the Eletre will carry a battery pack that Lotus says will have more than 100 kWh of capacity and support DC fast charging at rates of up to 350 kW, a rate which would allow 250 miles of range to be added in just 20 minutes. Each axle will be powered by a separate motor, with a minimum of 600 hp between the pair, a figure Lotus promises will equate to a 0-60 mph time of under three seconds. Unlike many speed-limited EVs, the Eletre will also be capable of higher velocities, with an official top speed of 161 mph. There are no official range figures yet, but Lotus is targeting a minimum of 373 miles under Europe’s generally flattering WLTP testing protocol. EPA numbers will be lower, but doubtless still impressive. Only limited details about mechanical specification have been released so far. We know that the Eletre will sit on height adjustable air suspension, this allowing the car to be raised by two inches to improve clearance off-road, and to be dropped by an inch for better stability at speed. Dynamic options will include active rear steering, active sway bars to fight lean and carbon-ceramic brakes, plus the monstrous 23-inch five spoke alloy rims you see in these images. We will have to wait for a detailed breakdown of US spec to see how many of those features will come here. VIEW PHOTOS Lotus While the Eletre’s powertrain and exterior design mark new territory for the brand, its cabin is where it feels like the most radical departure. Previous Lotuses have typically possessed functional, frill-free interiors to match their purity of purpose. The Eletre is trimmed and equipped to a much higher level than any of them, even the forthcoming Emira sports car we experienced last month. Space feels impressive for both front and rear seat occupants; the lack of a combustion engine up front has allowed a cab forward design to liberate more room. Both four-seat and five-seat versions will be offered, the latter having a bench at the rear. A full-length panoramic glass roof will be an option.In addition to a stitched leather and microfiber dashboard the Eletre has seats and door trim made from a high density wool fabric brand—more traditional materials will also be available—with the show car featuring bronze effect metalwork. The center of the dashboard is dominated by a vast 15.1-inch OLED touchscreen interface, with a narrower digital instrument panel ahead of the driver and another relaying information to the front-seat passenger. A head-up display featuring augmented reality, overlaying data onto the real world, will also be offered. Although the show car’s UI system wasn’t functional, Lotus says it is a new system unrelated to the Google-based software used by Volvo and Polestar. VIEW PHOTOS Lotus The Eletre is also designed to deliver higher-level autonomy. Although not shown in the official images there are deployable LIDAR sensors that will rise out of the roof, plus another pair above the front wheel arches, to help the car orientate itself. Lotus promises the Eletre will ultimately have “end to end” autonomous capabilities, including the ability to summon the car from where it is parked, although we don’t have any timings on when that is likely to happen yet.Customer deliveries will begin in Europe and China early next year, with the US following in 2024. There is no official word on pricing yet, but Lotus insiders suggest the range will start somewhere near the Tesla Model X, suggesting a kick-off around the $120,000 mark. Higher powered and possibly also longer ranged versions will follow. VIEW PHOTOS`

Source : autoweek.com
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