British sports car maker Lotus is jumping on the electric bandwagon with the reveal of the Eletre, a plug-in crossover SUV with a design language inspired by the automaker’s Evija hypercar. The Eletre will also be the first of three new electric vehicles that Lotus plans to roll out over the next four years, including a sports car (natch), a coupe-sedan and another SUV.
Previously called the Type 132, the Eletre is the automaker’s second electric vehicle owned by Geely and will feature futuristic components such as camera-only side mirrors and a lidar sensor attached to the front and rear of the roof.
As befits its sports car heritage, Lotus is emphasizing the performance capabilities of its new electric SUV. The Eletre will be able to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (0 to 62 mph) in less than three seconds, with Lotus claiming a place in the exclusive “Two Second Club” which also includes the Tesla Model S Plaid (under very specific conditions, Warning).
But just because it can rip it on the track doesn’t mean the Eletre isn’t built like an SUV. With all-wheel drive, the five-door EV will be quite compact, but it’ll still pack plenty of power, including a battery capacity of over 100 kWh and 600 horsepower.
Lotus claims a 350kW charger will provide 400km (248 miles) of range in just 20 minutes. The target maximum range of the car in WLTP is 600 km (373 miles). It also comes with the ability as standard to accept a 22kW AC load, which when needed reduces connection time.
Design-wise, the Eletre features an aggressive, forward-sloping nose and a racy, coupe-like roofline. Lotus designers are clearly leveraging their experience in building stylish sports cars. The proportions, however, are unmistakably those of an SUV.
Lotus boasts that the Eletre offers many “firsts” for the brand, including the first five-door production car, the first non-sports car model, the first lifestyle electric vehicle and the most Lotus ” connected” all the time. It will also be the company’s first car to be built in China, where its parent company is based.
The Eletre will be built on Lotus’ new Premium Electric Architecture, a low-to-the-ground ‘skateboard’ design that is flexible to accommodate different battery sizes, motors, component layouts and ‘smart’ driving technologies. . For the Eletre, Lotus says this will include “end-to-end autonomous driving technology” and over-the-air software update capabilities. The platform will serve as the basis for a range of premium electric vehicles from Lotus.
By “end-to-end autonomous driving”, Lotus is actually referring to self-parking capabilities. The company says, “A customer can use their smartphone app to instruct their Eletre to drive to them autonomously from a nearby parking spot, then park autonomously when the ride is complete.” More advanced autonomous driving will be added later via OTA updates, the company says. The electric vehicle will also have 5G connectivity.
The Eletre will feature a range of advanced driver assistance features: Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Collision Mitigation Support Front (CMSF); Traffic Sign Information (TSI); Door open warning (DOW); Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA); Forward Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA); Lane Change Assist (LCA); Child Presence Detection (CPD); Lane Keeping Assist with Lane Departure Warning/Prevention (LKA+); Emergency parking brake (PEB); Rear Collision Mitigation Support (CMSR); and emergency rescue call (E-Call). Still, the Eletre will likely require driver supervision at all times.
Geely bought a majority stake in Lotus in 2017, and over the past decade the Chinese group has added everything from Volvo to an electric vertical take-off and landing company to its portfolio. Even before the Eletre’s debut, the company had gained quite a reputation for resurrecting outdated brands, as it did with Volvo or the Swedish automaker’s Polestar brand.