To most of us, the Lotus brand is synonymous with lightweight, nimble sports cars perfect for B-road blasts. However, the latest model from the British brand comes in the form of a fully-electric SUV called the Lotus Eletre.
The Eletre is based on Lotus’s Electric Premium Architecture, which uses a new 800-volt skateboard-style platform to provide a low centre of gravity and help maintain athletic handling.
It’s fitted with a battery of just over 100kWh (the precise figure is yet to be confirmed), which is connected to a pair of electric motors producing a targeted minimum of 592bhp even in entry-level trim. There will also be a range of higher performance Eletres coming in the future, which Lotus says will reach 0-62mph in less than three seconds.
Lotus is targeting a range of 373 miles on a single charge, with 350kW rapid-charging capable of adding 248 miles of range in just 20 minutes.
The Eletre’s aerodynamic styling takes influence from the 2000bhp Lotus Evija, with notable features such as the rear tunnel reflecting that of the flagship hypercar. Other design quirks include a colour-changing rear LED light ‘ribbon’, while customer’s can also expect a 5G connection for over-the-air-software updates, along with the potential for new software features to be purchased later down the line.
Unusually for Lotus, the high-performance SUV will ride on an adaptive air suspension setup, which the driver can adjust along with the steering, powertrain and throttle response using the vehicle’s different driving modes: Range, Tour, Sport, Off-road and Individual.
Feeling the pressure to live up to its history and namesake, Lotus claims the Eletre delivers an “outstanding ride and handling, highly communicative steering and exceptional driver engagement”. Carbon fibre and aluminium are used extensively throughout the car to reduce weight. A three-in-one electric motor system that integrates the motor, controller, and reducer into a single package has been developed to decrease the overall weight figure further.
The Lotus Eletre will be built in the British brand’s new Chinese factory starting later this year, while prices will begin at around £100,000.
So, what do you think of this new direction from Lotus? Is it sacrilege for the Hethel-based brand to build an SUV, or a sensible move?