The all-new Lotus Eletre is a pioneering Hyper-SUV, the first of a new generation of completely electric SUVs, according to some. It evolved from the Lotus DNA and basic ideas from over 70 years of sports car design and engineering into an attractive all-new lifestyle vehicle for the next generation of Lotus enthusiasts.
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Full of Lotus “firsts”
The Eletre adds a dramatic new dimension to Lotus’ performance vehicle lineup, including the first five-door production car, the first model outside the sports car classes, the first lifestyle EV, and the most “connected” Lotus ever.
Despite this, it is still a Lotus, a gorgeous vehicle ‘carved by air,’ filled with cutting-edge technology, real athletic performance, and purposeful simplicity, conceived and developed by a dedicated and worldwide team. The Lotus Eletre emanates charm and character.
The Eletre is a 4WD vehicle with a battery capacity of over 100kWh and 600hp. In only 20 minutes, a 350kW charger can provide a 400km (248 miles) range. The car’s maximum WLTP driving range is estimated to be about 600 kilometers (c.373 miles). It also has the capacity to take 22kW AC charging as standard, which decreases the amount of time plugged in when available.
Intelligent driving innovations include the world’s first deployable Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system in a production vehicle, as well as the most sophisticated active aerodynamics package on any production SUV.
With a dramatic walk-up sequence that gives a moment of theatre every time the driver approaches the vehicle, the Lotus SUV makes a simple statement: here is Lotus reimagined, the birth of a new icon into the Lotus collection.
Sharp and courageous on the outside
With a cab-forward posture, lengthy wheelbase, and extremely low front and rear overhangs, the Lotus design team has produced a bold and striking new car. The lack of a petrol engine allows them more creative flexibility, yet the small hood reflects the visual elements of Lotus’ renowned mid-engined configuration.
Overall, the automobile has a light appearance, giving it the appearance of a high-riding sports car rather than an SUV. The Evija and Emira were designed with a ‘carved by air’ design philosophy in mind.
The ‘porosity’ of the design – the aerodynamic idea of air flowing through, under, over, and around the automobile – is a standout feature. The Evija’s design was based on porosity, which is also present in the Emira and has served as an obvious source of inspiration for the Lotus Eletre.
The air is channeled beneath the leading edge of the automobile and emerges via two exit vents in the bonnet above, demonstrating this idea.
The Eletre’s highly sharp and crisp leading-edge shows a clear lineage with the Emira and Evija upfront. It forms a clear line across the highly modern and dramatic design approach underneath. Evija’s influence may also be seen in the stacking of surfaces, the creation of space, and the improved aerodynamic efficiency.
The Eletre’s dynamic front grille, which consists of a network of interconnected triangular petals that dominate the center area, is located lower down. They’re intricately constructed to stay closed while the automobile is at rest or when reducing drag is needed while traveling.
They open in a specific manner to feed air into the radiator, enabling the Lotus Eletre to ‘breathe’ when the electric motors, battery pack, and front brakes need to be cooled. It’s another illustration of the car’s porosity, and it also helps with aerodynamics.
The Lotus SUV’s front end, which features a deployable LIDAR sensor located at the top of the windshield, has a distinct feeling of flow and dynamic character. All of the black parts are made of carbon fiber, while the body panels are made of aluminum.
The strong haunches of the automobile dominate the profile view as you go around it. The sculpted design of the doors, each of which has a flush handle, is defined by the air exit directly behind the front wheels. The front wing houses the charging port’s electrically opening cover, as well as the deployable LIDAR sensors, one on each side and a world-first for the Eletre.
An Electric Reverse Mirror Display (ERMD) replaces each door mirror and holds three distinct cameras. One for the rear-view mirror, another for creating a 360-degree image of the vehicle from above to assist with parking, and a third for intelligent driving technology. It works in conjunction with Eletre’s LIDAR technology to enable autonomous driving.
The feature line from the profile is picked up by the full-width ribbon light strip at the back. It is red while the vehicle is driving and has a scrolling directional indication at either end, where it curls softly into the air outlets from the wheel arches — another design cue that mirrors both the Emira and the Evija.
The light comes in four colors and is used to assist with the car’s dramatic unlocking routine as well as to indicate battery charge status.
A new cockpit architecture for the Lotus Eletre
To provide a great customer experience, the performance-oriented and technological design is aesthetically lightweight and uses ultra-premium materials. Customers may choose between the four separate chairs shown and the more typical five-seat configuration. A fixed panoramic glass sunroof3 adds to the interior’s bright and expansive atmosphere.
On the major touchpoints, premium feel and very durable man-made microfibres are used, with an innovative wool-blend fabric on the seats. It’s half the weight of typical leather, allowing for even more weight savings. The hard components are carbon fiber, however, instead of using the usual ‘weave’ associated with automobile design, Lotus recycled the fibers clipped from the weave’s edge.
These were reassembled into new matting and then compacted in a resin to give the automobile its luxury marble-like surface.
The Lotus Emira and Evija influenced the driver-focused cockpit and high center console, producing a cossetted atmosphere. A triangle pattern – visible externally on the car’s active front grille – is mirrored in various areas within the interior, giving it a real luxury feel.
A storage tray with wireless charging for mobile phones, as well as twin cupholders of various sizes that rest flat to the surface until required, are included in the center console. The door’s finely sculpted shape contains storage for a liter bottle.
The clever design continues towards the back of the vehicle, with plenty of room in the doors and between the two seats. The armrest splits behind the two cupholders and has a center draw at knee height. It comes to a conclusion with a wireless charging tray underneath an angled nine-inch touch screen for infotainment.
Technology and connectivity
To transmit critical vehicle and travel information, the typical instrument cluster binnacle has been condensed, in the Lotus Eletre, to a narrow strip less than 30mm high in front of the driver. It’s replicated on the passenger side, where alternative information, such as music choices or nearby sites of interest, may be presented.
The newest in OLED touch-screen technology, a 15.1-inch landscape interface that enables access to the car’s smart infotainment system, is sandwiched between the two. When not in use, it automatically folds flat. A head-up display using augmented reality (AR) technology, which is standard equipment on the automobile, may also show information to the driver.
While every aspect of the Lotus Eletre may be managed digitally, several important controls are reproduced via analog switches, a homage to Lotus’s renowned simplicity. Advanced speech recognition technology allows for voice control as well.
KEF, a well-known British firm, provides the car’s basic audio system. It’s a 1,380-watt 15-speaker system with Uni-QTM and surround sound technology, and it’s called KEF Premium. Uni-Q eliminates separate tweeter and mid-range speakers in favor of integrating them into a single acoustically idealized unit.
It delivers a more cohesive, hyper-realistic sound experience by covering the whole mid- and high-frequency sound range from a single location in space.
KEF Reference, a 2,160-watt 23-speaker system with Uni-Q and 3D surround sound technology, is available as an upgrade.
Autonomous driving technology and assistance systems
On the Lotus Eletre, technology is employed for much more than just entertainment. It’s also at the core of the car’s full array of sophisticated Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), many of which are meant to futureproof and allow new capabilities through Over The Air (OTA) upgrades.
Several use the LIDAR technology, which hides its deployable sensors when not in use, allowing the car’s distinctive form to show through, with sensors only protruding from the top of the windshield, the top of the back glass, and the front wheel arches when needed.
Lotus Eletre’s LIDAR system means it can handle end-to-end autonomous driving technology and is future-proofed for future development, thanks to the hardware it currently has. Additional functionality may be provided through OTA software upgrades as and when local market regulations allow it.
The hyper SUV is available with Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Collision Mitigation Support Front (CMSF); Traffic Sign Information (TSI); Door Open Warning (DOW); Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA); Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA); Lane Change Assist (LCA); Children Presence Detection (CPD); Lane Keep Aid with Lane Departure Warning / Prevention (LKA+); Parking Emergency Brake (PEB); Collision Mitigation Support Rear (CMSR); and Emergency Rescue Call (E-Call).