It might be hard to say its name, but Lotus expects to attract plenty of attention – and new buyers – with the launch of the Eletre, its first “volume” battery-electric vehicle.
The British automaker is in the midst of the biggest product rollout in its history, which will also mark its transition from conventional internal combustion vehicles. The Eletre – pronounced EL’-etra – will be just the first electric vehicle to come, with two more due out by 2026 and more to follow.
Lotus teased the launch with a barge carrying a bright yellow Cube and an Eletre prototype down the River Thames in London on Monday. It will stage an official world premiere of the Eletre during a virtual webcast at 7.30pm UK Summer Time on Tuesday 29th March. This equals 2:30 p.m. EDT and you can check it by clicking here.
A little surprise
The choice of the Eletre name surprised some observers, who expected Lotus to retain the Type 132 nomenclature used in an announcement last August. Again, the brand’s history is filled with model names beginning with “E”, such as the Elise and the Exige.
The new Lotus electric vehicle will be an SUV. And it will be assembled in a much higher volume than that of the brand’s first limited-edition electric vehicle, the Evija hypercar, of which only 130 copies will be produced.
The Lotus Eletre will also be the automaker’s first model produced in China – specifically in Wuhan, a city best known as the likely source of the COVID-19 virus. That’s no surprise given that the British marque is owned by the ambitious Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, which also runs Volvo.
Beyond that, not much is known about the Eletre, although there have been some leaks and lots of speculation. It adopts a mid-size SUV design with aggressive aerodynamics meant to improve range and performance.
Range is still to be confirmed, but it’s almost certain to exceed 200 miles per charge. This is, of course, if you don’t push it to its limits, something owners will clearly be tempted to do, given that Eletre will likely deliver up to 700 horsepower using motors on the front and rear axles. .
In its early days, Lotus discovered that Colin Chapman had established some ground rules for the brand, his mantra being: “Simplify. Then add lightness. Don’t expect this to be a low-mass vehicle, however, a battery likely to add several hundred pounds to the mass of the electric SUV.
On the plus side, Lotus has followed the current industry approach, mounting the batteries and motors under the load floor, in a skateboard-style platform. It will most likely have a lower center of gravity than similarly sized gasoline SUVs, which should improve handling.
Going forward, the Lotus Emira will be the brand’s last ICE vehicle. It plans to follow the launch of the Eletre with at least three other all-electric offerings. If it sticks to the strategy announced last year, the model named Type 133 will be a four-door coupe, the 134 a smaller SUV – likely a challenger to the next Porsche Macan EV – and the Type 135 a car. classic sports. This latest model should come out of the brand’s British factory in Hethel.