In an industry prone to superlatives, here’s a newcomer to the automotive world: “Hyper-SUV”, courtesy of legendary British sports car manufacturer Lotus, with its latest EV creation, the Eletre.
“The Eletre takes the heart and soul of Lotus’ latest sports car – the Emira – and the revolutionary aerodynamic performance of the all-electric Evija hypercar, and reinterprets them as a Hyper-SUV,” Lotus said in a statement.
Lotus had been teasing a high-performance EV SUV known as the “Type 132” for a few months.
It’s an important car for Lotus, which has had its share of problems over the past few years but is now seeing conditions improve under its new owner, Chinese car conglomerate Geely (0175.HK).
The Eletre is Lotus’ first five-door production car and its first non-sports car model, which it calls a “lifestyle EV”.
“We did a lot of market research before we went with this car,” Matt Windle, chief executive of Lotus Cars, told Yahoo Finance. “We want to bring a range of lifestyle cars to complement what we have in the sports car and hyper-car space, and we think the time is right for the vehicle. The electric vehicle market is growing rapidly – not just now because of gas prices, but it has been the case for two years.
Although initial details are scarce, Lotus has released some key specs for the Eletre. It will be a four-wheel-drive car, likely to have two motors that will produce 600 hp, with a battery with a “capacity greater than 100 kWh”. Lotus says a 350kW charger will give the Eletre a range of 248 miles in 20 minutes, and the car’s range will be around 373 miles (using the WLTP test cycle).
Although the Eletre was designed and engineered in England, it will be built at Lotus’ brand new production facility in Wuhan, China. The Eletre will be built on Lotus’ all-new Premium Electric Architecture (EPA), which can be used on a variety of electric vehicles. This is important because Lotus intends to launch 3 more electric vehicles by 2026, one of which will be another SUV.
Lotus believes bigger cars and SUVs are necessary for its growth and survival.
“Larger cars are also appealing to the Chinese market and the US market,” Windle says. “These are areas where we see a big sales segment, and we want a car for every stage of your life. So whether you have the sports car initially and then come back to it after when you have the family, and you need to move things around, you also have the option of Lotus.”
A family electric Lotus isn’t something auto analysts would have predicted 10 years ago, let alone one made in China. However, market forces and the need for more capacity dictate that Lotus is dividing its car production into two geographical areas: sports cars in the UK and lifestyle cars in China.
The Lotus Eletre is now on sale in global markets, with the first deliveries to customers in 2023 from China, the UK and Europe.