Lotus unveiled its first SUV on Tuesday. Yes, the company famous for its lightweight sports cars has expanded to include vehicles usually found in grocery stores instead of tracks. This step is necessary to increase the financial health of Lotus, and the resulting profits should be used to build new and better sports cars.
The new SUV, formerly referred to by its code name Type 132, goes by the name Eletar and goes into production at a new plant in Wuhan, China, later this year. Yes, the arrival of Elater also marks the expansion of the Lotus production footprint outside the UK
Eletre is based on a modular EV platform called Electric Premium Architecture (there was evolution before), and it is much bigger than you expected. Measuring 200.9 inches, the Eletre is longer than a Range Rover and closer in length to some full-size luxury sedans. It doesn’t say how much the Lotus Elater weighs, but we imagine it would be heavier if it used aluminum and carbon fiber in construction.
Despite its size, Eletre promises some stunning performance. According to Lotus, the power output will start at 600 hp and at least one variant will be able to run at speeds of 0-60 miles per hour in less than three seconds. The maximum speed is claimed to be 161 mph. The drives come from a motor on each axis and together they form an all-wheel-drive system. Each motor is combined with a controller and a reducer, a design says to save space and weight.
Lotus has kept full details until the launch is near the market but the battery capacity has been confirmed to be sufficient for a range of more than 100 kilowatt-hours or 300 miles. It will be possible to charge up to 350 kilowatts, which Lotus says will add up to about 250 miles in just 20 minutes.
Outside of electric powertrains, the Elliott Lotus chassis benefits knowledge-how. This includes a sport-tuned suspension with rear five-link setup, air suspension and adjustable damper in each corner, active anti-roll bar, brake-based torque vectoring and four-wheel steering. There are also four drive modes (range, tour, sport and off-road) that adjust the steering, damper settings, powertrain and accelerator pedal response.
For design, Lotus says the inspiration came from its latest sports car, although aerodynamics also played a role. This is especially true for the lower front fascia which plays a grille with an active shutter that opens when the motor, battery pack and brakes need to be cooled. For the designed driver-assist features, the lead sensors are mounted on the body and extended as needed, while the rear has two winglet-like components that extend downwards from the vehicle. The camera stalks have replaced the side mirrors, although conventional mirrors will be used in markets where regulations are needed.
Inside, the conventional instrument cluster has been replaced by a thin band that extends to the width of the dash, and has an integrated display for the driver and another for the front seat passengers. At the center of the brand is a 15.1-inch display that acts as an infotainment hub. There is also a head-up display with augmented reality. Buyers will be able to choose between a four- to five-seat configuration for the cabin.
As mentioned above, production will take place in China, which is expected to be the largest market for electricity, although we can imagine that many buyers in the United States will be relieved up to one. Delivery to China and Europe began in 2023, but availability and timing for the United States have not yet been announced. Lotus will build a small crossover (Type 134) and a four-door coupe (Type 133) in China, starting in 2025 and 2023, respectively. The electric sports car (type 135) will join the party in 2026. The electric sports car will be paired with a similar model from the Alpine in France.