the electric SUV that will mark the future of Lotus

Eletre is the most unexpected product in the history of Lotus and the furthest from its tradition. But at the same time it constitutes an inevitable step towards its future.

The Eletre has the not insignificant task of leading the brand into a new era: the Lotus of tomorrow will be a manufacturer that produces only high-performance electric cars.

It aims to go 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 owner Geely will be completed. This is a radical turn.

In order to grow so much in such a short time, to make a leap of several orders of magnitude, Lotus management devised an industrial plan that had to start strong from the beginning. That is, with a sport utility vehicle of “about 100,000 pounds”, a sure way to unsettle the Chinese market, as well as the North American and European ones. Starting next year, when deliveries start.

Designed in England, made in China.

Lotus’ Creative Technology Center in Warwickshire, under the leadership of Peter Horbury and Ben Payne, has exploited the mechanical features of the car, which will be produced in 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 (3.02m) and overall length (5.10m).

The resulting impression is of a very sharp silhouette, although the total height is 1.63 m.

Speaking of “space”, the trunk has 400 liters, to which must be added the 77 liters of the front compartment, perfect for storing the charging cable.

The large size of the cabin also makes a difference. It looks shorter than it really is. This is confirmed by habitability: «There is more headroom for rear passengers than in the BMW iXBen Payne explained.

A second distinctive feature of the style is what designers call “porosity.” It means that the Lotus Eletre is literally full of holes. Managing the aerodynamic flows around the bodywork has been the subject of maniacal attention, resulting in a whole system of intakes, ducts and vents.

Aerodynamics.

Starting at 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 bonnet, with the function of reducing resistance and, consequently, increasing the autonomy and benefits.

This is the same purpose that the grooves at the front of the wheel arches and the corresponding grooves at the rear of the arch have been created to relieve pressure generated by turbulence caused by tire rolling.

The lower part of the nose is also full of surprises: here, for example, are the main headlights (matrix LED) and the active air intake that cools the electric motors, the battery pack and the braking system and which opens and closes its modular elements, a kind of triangular petals, as needed.

Suspended rear pillar.

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 excess pressure generated in the wheel arch by the rolling of the tires or the blade-shaped rear pillar, which has been done this way to optimize the flow of air around the bodywork in this part of the side.

Another interesting element are the optional rear view camera mounts that replace the exterior mirrors: also in this case, the reasons for their introduction are lightness and the reduction of the frontal surface.

Spoilers at the rear.

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 lacks the central section. This appendix dialogues closely with the one at the base of the rear window, which is adjustable and assumes three different incidences depending on the chosen driving mode.

Four or five seats.

This obsessive search for lightness is also behind the definition of the interior: available in four or five-seater configurations, the Eletre’s cabin adopts upholstery materials that respond to the same need for weight reduction and attention to sustainability.

Mixed wool and circular economy carbon. Thus, along with microfiber, there is a new mix of wool for the upholstery of the seats (50% lighter than leather) and, above all, inserts of an equally original recycled carbon fiber, made from remnants obtained by processing and pressing, which share its lightness and mechanical resistance, but which constitute a good example of circular economy.

Two symmetrical screens three centimeters high. In that area of ​​the cabin, the absolute symmetry between the driver’s side and the passenger’s side is evident. In fact, 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 first contains essential information about the vehicle and the trip, the second focuses on music, points of interest and entertainment content.

In the middle is the main screen, a 15.1″ OLED that reclines when not in use and that, in terms of user experience, is inspired by the same principles of lightness that are the common thread of the entire project: according to Lotus, 95% of the functions can be reached with three touches of the screen. The interface is completed with an augmented reality head-up display, which will be standard on the entire range, the inevitable set of advanced voice commands and a few physical controls, inserted despite the redundancy.

Bacterium.

Battery of more than 100 kWh, 600 km of autonomy.

The skeleton is made up of a completely new high-strength aluminum and steel architecture that will be the basis of the brand’s entire future range, which will remain exclusive to Lotus and which, in the case of the Eletre, foresees the presence of two engines electric, one for each axle, for a total power of about 600 CV in the basic version. That’s enough to cover 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.

Level 4 autonomous driving.

It has a completely new electrical and computer architecture: the Eletre system works at a voltage of 800 volts and allows important developments such as ultra-fast charging (up to 350 kW of direct current, to gain 400 km in 18 minutes) and autonomous driving functions.

According to Lotus, this new model will hit the market as a level 2+, but its hardware is already capable of supporting level 4, that is, autonomous operations without a driver on board, such as reaching the owner from a nearby parking lot after being “summoned”. via smartphone.

Chassis and electronics.

To ensure handling is up to par, the company’s engineers have deployed a suspension system with pneumatic elements fitted as standard with Continuous Damping Control and a full five-link rear axle, which can be further customized on request with adjustable height, four-wheel steering, active stabilizer bar and torque vectoring. Standard on all cars is Electronic Drive Mode Control, which controls steering, damping and throttle response based on four settings plus one: Range, Tour, Sport, Off-road and Individual.

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