The Eletre is Lotus’ first step in its journey to becoming an electric performance car brand

The arrival of the Eletre Sport Utility Vehicle is a significant milestone that will allow Lotus to become a truly global performance car brand, company bosses say.

Eletre – a Hungarian word that translates into ‘coming to life’ – is the first battery-powered car to wear the Lotus badge. Customer deliveries are due to start in 2023 and prices will start from around £100,000.

Deploying four-wheel-drive, the Lamborghini Urus-sized model will be sold in three trims, with each differentiated by their performance and equipment levels.

Touted as having the most advanced aerodynamic package on any production SUV, Lotus say they are aiming for a 0-62mph time of under three seconds and a top speed just north of 160mph thanks to 592bhp of power.

To keep the total kerb weight as low as possible, engineers have relied heavily on aluminium and carbon fibre – measures that should help the Eletre achieve its quoted 348-mile range. Connected to a 350kW charger, a full recharge of the 100kWH battery takes around 18 minutes.

Led by Ben Payne, the design team have given the Eletre a cab-forward stance, long wheelbase and short front and rear overhangs.  Aerodynamic efficiency is also said to have played a big part in a whole host of the car’s details.

‘Porosity’ – how the car performs through the air – influenced active features of the design, including how air is channelled behind the front wheel and rear wheel arches, and at the top of the D-pillar.

And rather than relying on traditional door mirrors, Lotus gone down the route of an ‘Electric Reverse Mirror Display’. These house three different cameras – one for the rear-view mirror, a second to help create a 360-degree view of the car from above to aid parking, and a third that is part of the intelligent driving technologies.

Future-proofed because of its ability to accept over the air software updates, it works in tandem with the Eletre’s Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system to deliver autonomous driving capability.

Even the 23-inch machine-cut five-spoke alloys have been finished to maximise range as they feature carbon fibre inserts to aid air flow. Stopping power comes in the form of ceramic composite 10-piston caliper brakes.

Big efforts have been made on the inside of the Eletre as well and Lotus is promising an “infotainment experience that will set new standards in the automotive world”.

A ribbon of light runs beneath the instrument panel and changes colour according to different situations, including tweaks to cabin temperature and the current status of the car’s battery.

Ahead of the driver a slim strip measuring less than 30mm high that communicates key vehicle and journey information, with this repeated on the passenger side. Sitting in-between these is 15.1-inch OLED touchscreen that operates the multimedia system. The technology count is strengthened by a head-up display that features augmented reality graphics and is standard across the range.

The cabin is largely constructed from ‘Kvadrat’ – a sustainable material – and a wool-blend fabric. A five-seater, the Eletre has a split-folding rear bench and 470-litres of carrying capacity when the ‘frunk’ and boot are both used.

Qingfeng Feng – the CEO of Group Lotus – said: “The Eletre, our Hyper-SUV, is a new performance car from an iconic performance car brand and it will appeal to independent-minded and adventurous driving enthusiasts – those who love the thrill of driving.

“It is a unique combination of beautiful design, exceptional dynamic performance and everyday usability, for those who dare to look beyond the conventional, and marks a turning point for our business and brand.”

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