Eletre is the most unexpected product in the history of Lotus and the furthest from its tradition. But at the same time, it is an inevitable step towards its future.
Eletre has the not insignificant task of bringing the brand into a new era: the Lotus of tomorrow will be a manufacturer that will only produce high-performance electric cars.
It aims to increase from some 1,600 cars sold last year to the 100,000 expected by 2028, the year in which the transformation and the new range financed by the Chinese shipowner Geely will be completed. It is a radical turning point.
To grow so much in such a short time, to make a leap of several orders of magnitude, the management of Lotus devised an industrial plan which had to start strong from the start. That is to say, with an SUV of “about 100,000 pounds”, a sure way to destabilize the Chinese market, as well as those in North America and Europe. From next year when deliveries begin.
Designed in England, made in China.
Lotus’ Creative Technology Center in Warwickshire, under the direction of Peter Horbury and Ben Payne, has exploited the mechanical features of the car, which will be produced at a new factory in Wuhan, China.
The result is an extremely personal line, with a very short first volume and a particularly favorable ratio between wheelbase (3.02 m) and overall length (5.10 m).
The resulting impression is of a very clean silhouette, although the overall height is 1.63m.
Speaking of “space”, the trunk has 400 liters, to which we must add the 77 liters of the front compartment, perfect for storing the charging cable.
The large cabin size also makes the difference. It looks shorter than it actually is. This is confirmed by the habitability: “There’s more room for rear passengers than in the BMW iXBen Payne explained.
A second distinctive feature of the style is what designers call “porosity”. This means that the Lotus Eletre is literally full of holes. Manic attention has been paid to the management of aerodynamic flows around the bodywork, resulting in a whole system of intakes, ducts and vents.
Starting from the front, the most obvious ducts are undoubtedly those that channel the air under the nose in the form of a bridge, and accompany it throughout the development of the hood, with the function of reducing resistance and, therefore, increase autonomy and benefits.
It is for the same purpose that the grooves in the front of the wheel arches and the corresponding grooves in the rear of the wheel arch have been created to relieve the pressure generated by the turbulence caused by the rolling of the tires.
The lower part of the nose is also full of surprises: here are for example the main headlights (matrix LEDs) and the active air intake which cools the electric motors, the battery pack and the braking system and which opens and closes its modular system elements, a kind of triangular petals, as required.
Suspended rear upright.
But it is the whole project that is born under the priority of aerodynamics: this can be seen in a long series of details. Like the vent that relieves the overpressure generated in the wheel arch by the rolling of the tires or the blade-shaped rear foot, which was made in this way to optimize the flow of air around the bodywork in this part of the sidewall. .
Another interesting element are the optional reversing camera supports that replace the exterior mirrors: also in this case the reasons for their introduction are the lightness and the reduction of the frontal surface.
One split, the other adjustable. The most original feature of the rear is, without a doubt, the broken spoiler on the rear window: it is made of carbon fiber and devoid of the central part. This appendage interacts closely with that of the base of the rear screen, which is adjustable and has three different incidences depending on the driving mode chosen.
Four or five seats.
This obsessive search for lightness is also at the origin of the definition of the passenger compartment: available in four or five-seater configuration, the passenger compartment of Eletre adopts upholstery materials which meet the same need for lightening and durability.
Wool blend and carbon circular economy. Thus, alongside microfiber, there is a new wool blend for the upholstery of the seats (50% lighter than leather) and, above all, inserts of an equally original recycled carbon fiber, made from offcuts obtained by processing and pressing, which start from its lightness and mechanical resistance, but which constitute a good example of circular economy.
Two symmetrical screens three centimeters high. In this area of the cabin, the absolute symmetry between the driver’s side and the passenger’s side is evident. Indeed, both sides have the same ultra-thin screen: the two elements, barely three centimeters high, are horizontal and only differ in the information they display. The former contains essential vehicle and trip information, the latter focuses on music, points of interest and entertainment content.
Battery over 100 kWh, 600 km range.
The skeleton is made up of a completely new architecture in aluminum and high-strength steel that will be the basis of the entire future range of the brand, which will remain exclusive to Lotus and which, in the case of the Eletre, foresees the presence two electric motors, one for each axle, for a total power of approximately 600 CV in the basic version. Enough to cover the 0-100 km/h in less than 3 seconds and reach a top speed of 260 km/h. They are powered by a battery pack with a capacity of more than 100 kWh, which guarantees “about 600 km” of autonomy in the Wltp cycle.
Autonomous driving level 4.
It has a completely new electrical and computer architecture: the Eletre system operates at a voltage of 800 volts and allows major developments such as ultra-fast charging (up to 350 kW in direct current, to gain 400 km in 18 minutes ) and autonomous driving. functions.
According to Lotus, this new model will hit the market as Level 2+, but its hardware is already capable of supporting Level 4, i.e. autonomous operations without a driver on board, such as reaching the owner. from a nearby car park after being “summoned” via smartphone.
Chassis and electronics.
To ensure handling to match, the company’s engineers deployed a suspension system with pneumatic elements fitted as standard with continuous damping control and a complete five-link rear axle, which can be customized further on request with adjustable height, four-wheel steering, active stabilizer bar and torque vectoring. Standard on all cars, Electronic Drive Mode Control controls steering, damping and throttle response based on four plus one settings: Range, Tour, Sport, Off-Road and Individual.