- Lotus' first SUV is here. It's fully electric and called Eletre.
- Lotus is billing it as the world’s first hyper SUV.
- It makes 600 horsepower and has a maximum estimated range of 373 miles.
Lotus is famous for one thing: lightweight sports cars that are excellent to drive. The new 2023 Lotus Eletre, however, isn't that. Some might argue it's the opposite of what the iconic British marque used to stand for, but the days of the Elise, Exige and Evora are gone. Instead, the Eletre is an all-new electric SUV that the company hopes will become a major building block as it works its way toward a fully electric future.
The Eletre (pronounced El-etra) is a fully electric SUV from Lotus, and it will be built on the company's new electric platform that's based on an 800-volt architecture. The Eletre's basic layout isn't too dissimilar from that of other EV crossovers we've seen like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6. Like those cars, the Eletre uses a "skateboard"-style EV platform in which a 100-kWh battery pack is mounted low and in the floor of the car. Lotus says the maximum driving range of the Eletre is 373 miles on the WLTP cycle, but you can expect that number to fall once the EPA releases its range figure for the Eletre.
That battery sends its energy to two electric motors, one at each axle, giving the Eletre all-wheel drive and a combined output of 600 horsepower. Lotus did note that horsepower "starts" at 600 hp, and we take that to mean even stronger versions of the Eletre are coming. Lotus also says that a 350-kW charger (should you find one) can deliver up to 248 miles of range in just 20 minutes.
Lotus is billing the Eletre as the world's first "Hyper-SUV," but that's mostly because of its close connection to the limited-production Evija. The Eletre's advanced active aero is a result of the work Lotus did on its first EV sports car and helps the Eletre be as slippery as possible. Just take a look at it — there are vents, scoops and ducts everywhere, not to mention the active spoiler on the tailgate. It might not look like it in pictures, but the Eletre is a big car, and that's why Lotus worked hard on aerodynamics. And as for acceleration, Lotus says it can do 0-100 kph (or 0-62 mph) in less than 3 seconds.
Overall, the new Lotus EV is nearly 201 inches long and has a wheelbase of 118.9 inches. For context, that's nearly the size of a BMW X7 and only slightly shorter than a Mercedes Benz GLS. However, thanks to the lack of a need for a third row, it has a far shorter wheelbase than either the Mercedes or the BMW. But at just 64 inches tall, it is 7 inches shorter than the X7 and nearly 8 inches shorter than the GLS. Long, low and wide — those are the proportions Lotus went for, and while looks are subjective, it's certainly not like any SUV we've seen before.
Inside, the Eletre is awash with premium materials and screens. There is a slimmed-down organic LED driver's display that shows only pertinent information to the driver, like speed, state of charge, and range. The front passenger gets one of these ultra-thin displays as well but is shown other info, such as what's on the radio and nearby points of interest.
The standard augmented reality head-up display keeps key information in the driver's sight line, while a 15.1-inch touchscreen handles nearly all of the car's major functions but neatly folds away when it isn't needed. There is also a screen in the back between the two captain's chairs should you opt for the four-seat configuration. A five-seater with a bench in the back is available too.
But the screens don't quite end there. European versions of the Eletre will feature cameras that act as the rear car's side mirrors for a cleaner profile, and screens located at either edge of the dashboard will display what the cameras are seeing. However, that tech still isn't legal in the U.S., and American buyers will have to settle with run-of-the-mill mirrors. The Eletre will also come with a vast suite of advanced driver aids. Adaptive cruise control, front cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist and collision mitigation will all be optional features.
Production of the new Eletre will begin later this year at a new facility in Wuhan, China. Lotus hasn't mentioned pricing or when it will be available to U.S. buyers, but we'll be keeping our eye out for updates as they come along.
This all sounds great, but we're still left wondering if it will drive like a true Lotus. Honestly, we can't wait to find out.