BRITISH SUPERCAR LEGEND LOTUS MARKS THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA FOR BOTH THE BRAND AND AUTODOM AT LARGE WITH THE ELETRE, A STUNNING 600-HP MEGA-MACHINE BILLED AS THE WORLD’S FIRST ELECTRIC HYPER-SUV
BY EVAN MONROE
The March reveal of the Lotus Eletre presented a cavalcade of firsts for the revered U.K.-based sports car marque. Famed for its steadfast commitment to “slim” vehicles (“Adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere,” chanted founder Colin Chapman), the racing-inspired brand has been churning out svelte, road-hungry coupes since the late ‘40s, heralded in enthusiast circles for building formula cars for the everyday road. But spy shots out of China earlier this year proved the S1-maker was cooking up something entirely different for the next generation of super-machines. Not only is the Eletre Lotus’ inaugural dive into production crossovers, but the stunning EV is touted as the world’s first electric hyper-SUV.
The 600-hp Eletre is a technological and aerodynamic marvel, essentially a marriage of the premium mid-engine sports car Emira and the all-electric Evija hypercar. It’s underpinned by a brand new skateboard platform, dubbed Electric Premium Architecture, that features a low-to-the-ground design for superb handling. The platform supports a huge 100-kWh battery pack, offering a 373-mile range and a 0-80% charging time of 12 minutes, and a supercar-level 0-60 time of three seconds at.
Performance aside, the SUV is also downright stunning, and many factors contributing to its sleek, menacing shape are also functional. The black carbon- bergrille, for instance, actually breathes, remaining closed when the vehicle is at rest but opening as needed to cool the brakes, batteries, and electric motors. The body also features what the styling team dubbed “porosity,” or aerodynamic openings in the fenders and flanks that facilitate the optimal passage of air. It’s also the first vehicle to boast deployable LIDAR sensors (a laser-based equivalent of radar), hiding four retractable sensors in the roof and front fenders that emerge when needed, then stow mounted when at rest. The sensors can deliver level four autonomy think summoning the vehicle from a parking spot via your smartphone and are future-proofed to receive over-the-air updates as the industry continues to develop.