Lotus, the classic British sports car manufacturer, which has spent years crafting vehicles for speed enthusiasts with wind-tousled hair, is entering what we can only describe as a “new era.” What does that new era look like? An electric SUV, named the Eletre, which is, if you ask me, a hyper-fancy way of saying, “We’ve made an SUV, but it’s Lotus, so it’s cool.”
Now, this isn’t just any SUV. It’s a “hyper-SUV,” which is presumably a new and exciting category that needed to be invented for the car that wants to be an SUV, but also a Lotus. You’ll get all those legendary Lotus driving dynamics, provided you’re willing to accept them in a package more suited to grocery shopping and school runs than wind-in-the-hair thrills on twisty roads.
Underneath the cool exterior, you’ll find an 800-volt battery architecture that can charge at 350kW. Lotus says that you’ll only need 20 minutes for a 10-80% charge. Forget about your cup of coffee; it’ll be done before you’ve chosen your pastry. The range-topping Eletre R will even accelerate to 100km/h in 2.95 seconds, which is quite something, but again, it’s an SUV.
Lotus insists that this is not just about straight-line speed; you’ll also get rear-wheel steering and active air suspension. Basically, it’s like a sports car, only taller. Inside, it’s all digital cockpits and AI assistants and “Hyper OS,” which is either the latest in slick graphics or something to launch nuclear missiles.
With a whole suite of tech, like the Lotus Electric Performance Architecture (LEVA) and the ‘flexible skateboard’ EV platform, the Eletre promises a true Lotus experience, which means it’s made for driving, not just posing outside trendy coffee shops. It also includes an active air suspension and torque vectoring technology. That’s right, Lotus has actually been spending years developing sports cars so that one day they could build…an SUV. Genius.
The luxurious insides include things like Re-Fibre textiles and Alcantara. Sustainability? Check. New era? Double check. And don’t worry, you can get an Eletre R with a mere 490km range if you’re into driving fun rather than, you know, going places.
Priced at around £90,000 in the UK, the Eletre will compete with the likes of Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model X and the Audi e-tron (reviewed here). More affordable EVs are out there, but they don’t promise the blend of Lotus driving magic. (Magic wand not included.)
Could the Eletre open wallets and turn heads? Maybe, but it will definitely usher in an electrified future for Lotus, and you’ve got to admit, that’s pretty exciting, even for an SUV.