Lamborghini did it. Bentley and Rolls Royce did it. Ferrari is currently in the middle of doing it. Each of these brands known for their ultra-luxury automobiles stretched their product portfolio—and their chassis—to build a posh SUV. And now it’s Lotus’ turn.
The British car maker introduced the Eletre in London March 29, confirming rumors of the brand’s first SUV and the world’s first electric hyper-SUV.
“Bold, progressive and exotic,” proclaimed the news release announcing the launch, the Eletre features “iconic sports car DNA evolved for the next generation of Lotus customers. (It’s) the soul of a Lotus with the usability of an SUV.”
The hyper-SUV’s all-electric, all-wheel-drive platform is all-new, with a 100+ kWh battery pack that affords a range of up to 373 miles per charge. But the Eletre’s performance is classic Lotus, with genuine sporting performance offering more than 600 horsepower and the ability to go 0-60 in under three seconds.
The Eletre’s aggressive appearance belies Lotus’ ongoing commitment to lightweight luxury cars. The four-door SUV is “carved by air,” they said, with “unique Lotus design ‘porosity’ (that) means air flows through the vehicle for improved aerodynamics, speed, range and overall efficiency.”
The interior’s premium and highly durable manmade materials are equally committed to weight control—and sustainable sourcing. Recycled and reconstructed carbon fibers transform into the car’s premium marble-like finish, and a wool-blend fabric on the seats is 50% lighter than traditional leather, according to the company.
The Eletre’s technology package includes the most advanced active aerodynamics available on any production SUV and the world’s first production car featuring a deployable Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system to support intelligent driving technologies. LIDAR is a remote sensing method that uses lasers instead of radar. It can create a 3D map, identifying obstacles in its path—which makes it integral to the future of autonomous driving.
Advancements have made LIDAR sensors markedly smaller, so what used to look like a three-layer satellite dish mounted on the rooktop (See: Waymo) is now so small it’s been ntegrated into the design of the Eletre and can be hidden from view until deployed.
Another piece of seductive tech: Hit a button on the Eletre’s key or in the app to activate a “moment of theatre that’s unique in the automotive world,” they said. “The car’s exterior lights run through a short sequence, the active front grille ‘breathes’ and the illuminated flush door handles deploy. The experience is repeated inside the car as the door closes behind the occupant.”
It’s an experience Ben Payne, Head of Studio at Lotus Tech Creative Centre (LTCC), calls “a ‘peacock moment’—a little ‘showing-off’ that highlights the Eletre’s engaging personality.”
More personality is found in the “ribbon of technology,” which communicates key information to the driver and front passenger. Above the ribbon, a blade of light stretching across the cabin changes color to indicate events like incoming phone calls, or a change in temperature or the vehicle’s battery charge.
A 15.1-inch landscape interface OLED touchscreen provides access to the car’s advanced infotainment system and the driver also has a head-up display featuring augmented reality (AR) technology. Three cameras are integrated into each door mirror: a rear-view, a mirror that affords a 360-degree view of the car from above for parking purposes, and one that works with the LIDAR system for autonomous driving.
The Eletre is available for purchase now with the first deliveries expected in 2023 For more information or to reserve an Eletre, please visit Lotus.