It was an open secret that Lotus was working on its very first sport utility vehicle. Now it’s a done deal, as the British manufacturer has just unveiled the Eletre (pronounced Eletra) in a grand premiere in London, UK. Lotus, which has accustomed us to a lineup of sports cars over the decades, is now entering the crossover segment, a move made mandatory in today’s automotive industry.
And that’s not all, because the Eletre also becomes the brand’s first electric vehicle that is… affordable! Indeed, let’s remember that in 2019, Lotus unveiled its very first electric car, the exotic Evija, which, sadly, is aimed at a very wealthy public, which explains its very limited distribution.
As you can see, the new utility model is not aimed at the same audience as those who are remotely interested in off-road driving. Even if the newcomer has an off-road mode, its primary mission is to drive on the road. The design is in keeping with the times, but it’s hard to pin the vehicle down to the brand’s other creations (Evija and Emira).
The front bumper is inspired by recent creations of the industry, even the Lamborghini Urus from some angles. The headlights are positioned in an intermediate position, just below the line created by the hood. Over the hidden headlights, there are LED daytime running lights. The more discerning will also have identified a few ventilation tunnels at the front or just in front of the front doors, a simple way to optimize the car’s aerodynamics.
At the back, the position light that crosses the rear illuminates the letters L-O-T-U-S and is the center of interest between the diffuser and the spoiler that overhangs the rear window. Finally, on the sides, the 23-inch (!) wheels are optional, which means that more reasonable sizes will be offered to consumers. Hopefully, the designers had the worn-out roads of Quebec in mind.
Inside, the sleek dashboard sets the tone for this new kind of Lotus cabin. The central touch screen is quickly noticed, while two other screens on either side display information for the passengers. The sporty steering wheel at least confirms that the driver will have a modicum of fun behind the wheel. The center console also houses a tiny lever for the transmission and cup holders. As for the seats, they seem to be enveloping, and it’s worth noting that there are only four of them, a characteristic of exceptional vehicles.
Under the hood, or under the body really, the Lotus Eletre gets a pair of engines, a battery with over 100 kWh of capacity and 600 horsepower. The range would reach 600 km, but this distance was calculated with the WLTP method, which means a shortened distance for our market. The manufacturer also promises a 400 km range recharge in just 20 minutes using a 350 kW charging station.
Don’t hold your breath for your Canadian copy, as the first deliveries were scheduled for 2023 for the Chinese market. It wouldn’t be surprising if the first Canadian Lotus Eletre carries the 2024 model year.