The Lotus Eletre begins the historic British brand’s reinvention as an electric performance car firm offering a breadth of vehicles, rather than just the sports cars for which it is traditionally known.
The SUV is the first of four EVs set to arrive by 2025 from the Geely-owned British brand. Until now, the Eletre was codenamed Type 132 and the subsequent electric models are currently known as Type 133, Type 134 and Type 135, the last of which is the Lotus Evija hypercar.
The Eletre has almost exactly the same footprint as the Lamborghini Urus, at 5105m long, 2131mm wide and 1630mm tall, but is roomier thanks to its long wheelbase.
It is therefore a large car that caters to demand in China and the US (two crucial markets), although Lotus is also confident of strong uptake in mainland Europe and the UK, targeting a starting price of under £100,000.
There are no true rivals yet. The Urus is the most similar but is petrol engined, while the upcoming Ferrari Purosangue will be hybrid only. The Porsche Taycan is the closest competitor, but that’s a saloon rather than an SUV.
The Eletre’s platform is all new and created by Lotus, rather than adapted from existing Geely hardware.
That means the aluminium architecture, which can be applied to smaller and possibly slightly bigger models, must be used widely to justify the investment. As well as being adopted by the other known upcoming models and no doubt more in the future, Lotus will also sell it to other car makers to recoup costs. It expects to announce several significant deals in the coming months.
Called the Electric Premium Architecture (EPA), the skateboard-style design is easily adaptable not only to different sizes of car but also to different battery sizes, electric motors, component layouts and intelligent driving technologies.