The Lotus Eletre brings electric mobility to the luxury sports car realm

Dubbed the world’s first ‘hyper SUV’, the bold design of the Lotus Eletre merges the agility of a sports car with extraordinary comfort, accessibility, and performance.

by Anmol AhujaPublished on : Apr 02, 2022

The launch of the British racing car manufacturer and automobile giant Lotus' latest 'Hyper SUV' bears the potential to be a truly revolutionary development in the realm of automobile design. What the announcement heralds is that the electric vehicle segment is now being squarely invested in by luxury sports car brands too, with Ferrari's and Lamborghini’s electric supercars not too far away in the future. This is in slight departure from their preconceived association to global engineering innovators, including Tesla, and automobile manufacturers catering to the affordable segment. Second, it’s a number of firsts for Lotus as well, being the company’s first five-door production car, the first model outside sports car segments, and the first lifestyle EV, making it "the most 'connected' Lotus ever,” according to the brand. This series of firsts, the innovative angle, is fused with the company’s true ethos of genuine sporting performance along with a simplicity of purpose, driven by pioneering technology. The car's agile, aerodynamic form is "carved by air" akin to other Lotus models, as stated in an official release.

  • The Eletre combines the agility of a sports car with the utility, accessibility, and comfort of an SUV | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    The Eletre combines the agility of a sports car with the utility, accessibility, and comfort of an SUV Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • A fixed panoramic glass sunroof adds to the bright and spacious feeling inside | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    A fixed panoramic glass sunroof adds to the bright and spacious feeling inside Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • The design of the car’s body in aluminium and high tensile steel assumes an aerodynamically charged profile | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    The design of the car’s body in aluminium and high tensile steel assumes an aerodynamically charged profile Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars

The Eletre gets its personality from a unique fusion of sorts. While the hyper SUV label ensures that it will be a fusion of function and form, of performance and comfort, its reinterpretation comes from two existing Lotus offerings - the Emira sports car and the all-electric Evija hypercar. Its unique automobile architecture comprises Lotus' all new, highly versatile Electric Premium Architecture (EPA), entailing increased adaptability to accommodate battery sizes, motors, and component layouts across vehicle classes, packed with a 'skateboard-style' battery pack, situated close to the ground to create a low centre of gravity for the vehicle.

  • The front cabin and the driver’s console in the cockpit drive an immersive, intuitive experience built in expansive UI and UX research | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    The front cabin and the driver’s console in the cockpit drive an immersive, intuitive experience built in expansive UI and UX research Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • The car’s interiors deliver on the promise of luxury and premiumness associated with Lotus | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    The car’s interiors deliver on the promise of luxury and premiumness associated with Lotus Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars

Accompanied by an array of performance statistics that are truly impressive, the Eletre is a four wheel drive, revved up by an engine powered at 600hp and a battery capacity of over 100kWh. With the power it draws, the car joins the prestigious 2-second club, making it from a 0-100kmph in just under three seconds - a feat that is remarkable by all means for an EV, and a herald of the truly revolutionary developments on the horizon I mentioned before. The battery is optimised for quick charging, capable of delivering a range of 400km (248 miles) in just a 20 minute charge, while targeting a range of 600km on a full charge over time. An impressive, even unforeseen development on the hyper SUV is the world’s first deployable LIDAR system in a production car, mounted atop its windscreen, pushing the car’s venture into intelligent driving technologies, with an inkling toward autonomous driving in the future.

  • The car’s stylishly deployed charging port | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    The car’s stylishly deployed charging port Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • Eletre will also be available in a charged up yellow colour | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    Eletre will also be available in a charged up yellow colour Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars

Apart from spectacular performance stats to boast, the Eletre’s physicality and form is designed to augment its more quantifiable traits. With a cab-forward stance, long wheelbase and very short overhangs on the front and rear, helped by a lot of spatial freedom owing to the absence of a petrol engine under the bonnet, the car’s body is lent a highly 'porous' form, allowing for the realisation of the aerodynamic principle of air flowing under the car, over it, and around it." The design’s visual ramifications and the overall targeted aesthetic is summed up in this statement from an official release: "Overall, there’s a visual lightness to the car, creating the impression of a high-riding sports car rather than an SUV."

  • A conceptual sketch and visualisation of the car’s exterior design | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    A conceptual sketch and visualisation of the car’s exterior design Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • Conceptual sketch of the car’s interior profile | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    Conceptual sketch of the car’s interior profile Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • A ‘blade of light’ runs across the cabin to communicate activities in the car with passengers through a change in colour | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    A ‘blade of light’ runs across the cabin to communicate activities in the car with passengers through a change in colour Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars

The 'lightness' in design is further propounded by the 'fixtures' on the car being completely minimised. Along with the door handles flushed to surface, each door mirror is replaced by an Electric Reverse Mirror Display (ERMD), housing three different cameras. Comprising a rear-view mirror, a second to help draft a 360-degree view of the car from above to help with parking, and a third that segues into the car's intelligent driving offerings, the system works in tandem with the Eletre's LIDAR system to deliver the car autonomous driving capabilities.

The automobile’s premium feel and lightness in design carries over to the interiors of the car as well, with the company using only highly durable man-made microfibres on the primary touchpoints, accompanied by an advanced wool-blend fabric on the seats that is 50 per cent lighter than traditional leather. While the car’s external shell is built in aluminium and high tensile steel for optimal structural rigidity and fluid aerodynamics, the harder materials in the car’s interior are made in high-quality carbon fibre.

  • The steering houses switchgear for the adaptive cruise control and infotainment system | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    The steering houses switchgear for the adaptive cruise control and infotainment system Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars
  • Sketch and visualisation of the car’s toggle shifter and other driver controls | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
    Sketch and visualisation of the car’s toggle shifter and other driver controls Image: Courtesy of Lotus Cars

Driving home a holistic experience, the Eletre has much to credit its extensive User Experience team for, who utilise the car’s spacious interiors and cockpit space to deliver a truly unique, stylish experience. The air vents at each end of the front cabin seem to emerge from a 'blade of light' that runs across the cabin, housed in a ribbed channel that widens to accommodate the vents. Melding with the car’s immersive HMI (Human Machine Interface), the light changes colour to reflect 'events' and communicate with its inhabitants, including a call, change in cabin temperature, and the vehicle’s battery status. This technology is augmented by an extensive digital interface, dubbed by the design team as a "ribbon of technology". Its most significant feature is a revision of the traditional driver instrument cluster, its binnacle, now reduced to a thin strip measuring less than 30mm to communicate key vehicle and journey information.

01 min watch The Lotus Eletre’s launch film, dictating the company’s sizeable legacy and its pursuit of constant innovation | Lotus Eletre Hyper SUV | Lotus Cars | STIRworld
The Lotus Eletre’s launch film, dictating the company’s sizeable legacy and its pursuit of constant innovation Video: Courtesy of Lotus Cars

Furthermore, on the design aspects of the car that delve on delivering an all round, immersive experience to the driver, the 'journey' begins before the driver has even reached the car. Pressing a button on the car’s key or the car’s compatible smartphone app activates a sequence designed to enthral and rife with theatricality. The car’s exterior lights illuminate rhythmically, the grille ‘breathes’, and the illuminated flush door handles are deployed. The whole experience is repeated as the passengers are seated and the door closes behind the occupant, mimicking a space vessel being locked and loaded, prepped for take off. What’s more is that the Eletre just seems the tip of the iceberg for Lotus, with the automobile giant planning an all-new range of premium lifestyle performance electric vehicles, led by the Eletre.

The Lotus Eletre is on sale now across global markets, with first customer deliveries in 2023 starting in China, the UK, and Europe.

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