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Lotus SUV on show at Goodwood

Emira lights up Goodwood with Eletre, Evija as Lotus moves quickly to all-EV line-up

28 Jun 2022

IN CONJUNCTION with its Evija and Emira sportscars siblings, the Lotus Eletre ‘hyper-SUV’ last week made its world public debut at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed.   


While the Eletre and Evija are all-new EVs, the evolutionary Emira supersedes the Evora and uses forced induction petrol engines comprising a 3.5-litre, supercharged V6 and soon, a 2.0-litre, turbo four-cylinder courtesy of AMG. It will be the last petrol powered Lotus as the company moves quickly to fully electric power.


The latest Evija EV hypercar has a battery pack that was developed in conjunction with Williams Advanced Engineering, feeding four wheel-mounted electric motors supplied by Integral Powertrain. Each is rated at 368kW for a combined total output of 1472kW and 1700Nm.


Strictly limited in production and selling for around $A2.5 million, the Evija is said to be one of the fastest of the new breed of zero-emissions hypercars. Top speed is in excess of 320km/h while a 0-100kmh sprint takes “less than 3.0 seconds” – easily the quickest Lotus ever – but its mind-bending 0-300km/h time of just nine seconds shows how serious Lotus is about this car.


Channelling Evija and Emira DNA, the Eletre SUV has vents and ducts to direct air through and over the bodywork. Dynamic shutters and spoilers adjust position to boost range, speed, and handling.


With Lotus owned by Geely, Eletre is intended primarily for the Chinese market while the US is a secondary destination. Europe will get the Eletre as well, priced at an estimated £100,000 in the UK ($A185,000).


The Eletre marks a significant move from Lotus towards market-dominating SUVs and its all-electric powertrain features an 800-volt system capable of pushing it from 0-100kmh in just 3.0 seconds and to a top speed of 260km/h with a range of up to 600km.


“Dynamically, the Eletre has been developed to deliver everything you would expect from a Lotus. Outstanding ride and handling, highly communicative steering, and exceptional driver engagement,” said Lotus director Gavan Kershaw.


“From a performance perspective, we know the world is watching, so there has been an obsession with getting everything just right.”


The Eletre will be available in three trim levels with different performance and equipment but all versions will have four-wheel drive along with air suspension, active ride height and active aero as standard.


Options include rear wheel steering, active dampers, torque vectoring and an electronic limited-slip differential.


The vehicle is a huge step away from the traditional two-seater Lotus sportscar formula but, like other sportscar companies before, notably Porsche, the UK-headquartered company is confident about its SUV and EV plans and is bringing four EVs to the market by 2025.


Unobtanium Evija aside, the Eletre will be the first cab off the rank and Lotus claims it will be the first electric performance SUV to market, with competitors including the petrol-powered Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX, as well as the hybrid Ferrari Purosangue. 


It is built on a dedicated EV platform that Lotus plans to offer to other car-makers in order to defray development and production costs. It’s an all-aluminium fabrication that can be adapted to different size cars and different powertrains and performance levels.


The most powerful version will come with about 410kW. Batteries will be larger than 100kWh and will be able to be recharged in 18 minutes when using a 350kW DC charger. The least powerful model will have the longest range. 


Eletre features retractable LiDAR sensors – a world first – and will enable up to a Level 4 autonomous driving capability. 


Inside is futuristic and minimalist, without a traditional gauge cluster. Information of that nature is displayed on a strip in front of the driver with a large centre screen conveying additional info.


There is a 5G connection on board and over-the-air (OTA) updates ensure the car has the latest data. Materials used inside include a wool-blend fabric.


Lotus will build the Eletre in China at its Wuhan factory, with a capacity of 150,000 vehicles a year of which about 50,000 will be Eletres.

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