Lotus delivered a number of firsts with the Eletre. It's the company's first SUV, its first with four doors and its first mass-market electric vehicle. Of course, the Lotus Evija is its first all-electric hypercar, but that is a limited production model, and costing more than $2 million, it certainly isn't mass market. And let's not forget the Lotus Elise was the basis of the very first Tesla Roadster.
While many will scoff at Lotus launching an SUV, it enters a market of luxury models like the Lamborghini Urus, the Porsche Cayenne and the Aston DBX. This is a popular category and so Lotus would be foolish not to enter it. The Eletre has one big advantage though: this is an all-electric SUV.
As electric cars go, the Lotus Eletre has some impressive numbers. The power output starts at 600hp, and goes higher on some models. It has a 0-62mph time of under three seconds and perhaps most impressively, a range of up to 373 miles. This is thanks to the 100+ kWh 800v battery.
This sizable SUV does incorporate many Lotus stylings, some of which appear to be lifted straight from the Evija. The sharp nose devices the air and sends the lower part through the body, thanks to a series of channels that pass straight to the wheels and along the wings. The active front grill can open to provide air to the radiator and motors when needed and close when not needed. On the back, the active rear spoiler provides added downforce as required and more air channels pass straight from the rear wheels.
Inside, there's a super slim info screen behind the squared-off steering wheel and the screen is mirrored by another slim info screen in front of the passenger. In the center is a 15.1-inch display that can fold flat when not needed. There's also a heads-up display as standard for the driver. There's voice control with smart voice recognition available but for the essential functions, there are still manual buttons too.
Not forgetting about sound, the Eletre features KEF Premium audio in a 15-speaker arrangement, upgradeable to a KEF Reference 23-speaker arrangement. The advanced driver assistance systems use LIDAR sensors which emerge from the body of the car when needed. Lotus says that this will support end-to-end autonomous driving.
The front sports seats are mirrored in the back for the four-seater model of the Eletre, providing a luxury passenger experience with reclining functions and a large central armrest, complete with and display screen and storage. There will also be a five-seater version that has a regular bench rear seat with a two-thirds split for trunk access. As an SUV, there's even a sizeable trunk on the Eletre, offering 400 liters of storage for all those family bags.
Unlike its British-built heritage, the new Lotus (owned by Geely, who also owns Volvo and Polestar) will be built in a state-of-the-art factory in Wuhan, China. The price is expected to be around £100,000 ($130k / AU$175k) with the first deliveries in 2023.
If the Lotus Eletre helps keep Lotus profitable and allows them to create the planned coupe, crossover and sports car EVs it has planned, then that's a good thing. In the meantime, this has the potential to be the most impressive SUV EV to date.
This article is part of The T3 Edit, a collaboration between T3 and Wallpaper* which explores the very best blends of design, craft, and technology. Wallpaper* magazine is the world’s leading authority on contemporary design and The T3 Edit is your essential guide to what’s new and what’s next.