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Coming soon: Lotus Eletre

Rory talks us round the new Lotus Eletre as this celebrated brand makes switches from sports cars to electric SUVs in one move

Dan Trent

Words by: Dan Trent

Published on 30 March 2022 | 0 min read

For old-school Lotus fans raised on its traditions of innovative F1 engineering and amazing lightweight sports cars like the Elise and Exige the move into electric luxury SUVs with the all-new Eletre might have them waving pitchforks in disgust. But the reality is even the most historic of brands need to move with the times, and the direction of travel in the premium sector is clear.
Sporting rivals like Lamborghini and Porsche have already made the leap with petrol-fuelled super-SUVs like the Urus and Cayenne, both transforming the fortunes of the brands and meaning they can still build sports cars for the superfans. Ferrari has stayed out of the game as long as it could but even this proudest of supercar names is now working on one – the Purosangue – while Maserati, Bentley and others have all jumped on the bandwagon.
Even in this context for Lotus the Eletre is a car of many firsts, though. While the badge has appeared on various different cars over the years through collaborations with other manufacturers this is the first time Lotus itself has built anything other than a sports car. It’s also the first to be built overseas, the Eletre production line based in China from where much of the funding and expertise for the brand now comes through its owners Geely.
This is no modest, toe in the water, either. While final numbers are to be confirmed Lotus is already saying power will start at 600 horsepower, it will have a 100kWh battery, be capable of 0-62mph in less than three seconds and that, with a suitably fast charger, you’ll be able to replenish nearly 250 miles of range in just 20 minutes. Whether you can find one on the public infrastructure to deliver that promise is another matter but, with a target overall range of nearly 375 miles, you hopefully won’t have too much need to charge while out and about.
While Lotus may be new to the electric came it has been working hard on the technology for its Evija hypercar to deliver the driving experience fans of the brand expect as the industry switches away from ICE (internal combustion engine) products. It can also lean on the resources and expertise of its Chinese owners here, given electric cars are a huge part of Geely’s business at home and overseas, the latter through its ownership of Volvo.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed but with stats like that the Eletre is likely going to be competing with the likes of the BMW iX, new electric Range Rover and Tesla Model X Plaid, while buyers at this level will likely also be considering sporting EVs like the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo or Audi E-Tron GT. Forget the lightweight minimalism of traditional Lotus sports cars, too, because the Eletre is going full luxury with a huge array of neat onboard tech and opulent trimmings. For a taste of that – and Lotus’s ethos of ‘porous’ design – join Rory for guided tour of the Eletre inside and out. Is it all enough to calm the fears of traditional fans worried about Lotus seemingly abandoning its roots? We’ll find out when we drive it but, suffice to say, Rory is impressed with the levels of luxury and tech, while the brand itself acknowledges it’s for “the next generation of Lotus customers” and is the first of three ‘lifestyle EVs’ coming in the next few years.