Lotus Joins BEV Herd with Hyper SUV

For many fans Lotus, once the epitome of performance through simplicity and lightweight, has committed automotive heresy by following the herd into creating a BEV SUV.

For while it heralds the new Lotus Eletre as the world’s first “Hyper-SUV” quoting impressive performance figures, one statistic is most noticeable by its absence – the car’s weight. No amount of company waffle alluding to the brand’s illustrious 70 plus year history at its launch in London this week can paper over the fact that this is more a homage to making a quick buck than advancing automotive technology.

It’s essentially a jacked-up version of the all-electric Evija hypercar and dressed up as a soft-roader. The Eletre is 4WD, has a battery capacity that’s over 100kWh and with claimed power from 595bhp. Claimed performance is a 0-62mph sprint time of less than 3 seconds and a top speed of 161mph.

A 350kW charger is said to deliver a 248 mile range in just 20 minutes while its target maximum WLTP driving range is 373 miles. It also comes with the ability as standard to accept 22kW AC charging which, where available, reduces the time plugged in.

The automaker claims the car boasts the most advanced active aerodynamics package on any production SUV, albeit much of it drawn from the Evija. Its ADAS package features over-the-air (OTA) updates while the LiDAR system uses sensors that are hidden when not required, aiding aerodynamics. The system claims end-to-end autonomous driving technology future-proofed for further development. Further capability can be added via OTA software updates, as and when it is allowed by local market regulation.

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “The Eletre is a bold and revolutionary new car, delivering on our commitment to move Lotus into completely new automotive segments as we widen our global appeal and accessibility. This is a momentous point in our history and a clear signal of our ongoing desire to transform our business. It is a true Lotus, and we’re confident it will delight performance car customers and offer a distinct alternative to the segment’s established players. The Eletre has the soul of a Lotus and the usability of an SUV. Alongside the Emira sports car, this is the perfect two-car garage from Lotus.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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