Eletre, Suv and electric. The Lotus revolution starts here

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Who knows what Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus, would say looking at the new Eletre. “Add horses and you will go fast on the straight, take off weight and you will go fast everywhere” was his mantra. The Eletre? In one fell swoop it combines ingredients like SUV bodywork – a first for Lotus – and a battery-powered powertrain. And it seems to wipe out everything that has stood for the Lotus brand to date. Indeed, the Eletre goes exactly in the opposite direction. The same one that, however, coincides with what would seem to be the obligatory path for a manufacturer who no longer wants to be considered in the same way as the artisanal realities that produce sports cars.

The price to pay for changing status and playing with the grownups? Twofold: it is a question of making the brand accessible to as wide an audience as possible. This explains the sport utility bodywork, the most popular of the moment and now indispensable even for brands such as Porsche, Lamborghini and soon Ferrari. While battery powered mechanics is the passport visa needed to take a direct flight into the future. At least that of the Lotus brand, which will definitively say goodbye to connecting rods and pistons when the Emira retires. So tomorrow wants it. They say. And so want the Chinese of Geely (former owners of Volvo), who hold control of the Hethel brand. Eletre, therefore, will play a crucial role in achieving the brand’s commercial objectives: to deliver at least 100,000 cars per year by 2028, compared to approximately 1,600 sold in 2021.

5.1 meters long and with a wheelbase of over 3 meters, the car will arrive on the market over the next year, with an estimated price in the order of 120 thousand euros. Another sign of the changing times? The fact that the manufacturer did not declare the weight of the vehicle, presumably well over 2 tons. On the other hand, perhaps for the first time on a Lotus, given the vehicle’s “utility” intentions, we are talking about the trunk, or rather of the trunk: the compactness of the electrical mechanics, in fact, allows you to have two, one 77-liter front and one rear from 400. The traditional side mirrors are missing, replaced by cameras. Moreover, the car is already prepared, as hardware, for level 4 of assisted driving.

Inside, designed for four or five people (depending on the configuration), the style is minimalist and hi-tech: the main driving information is displayed on a rectangular screen behind the steering wheel – there is a twin one on the side of the passenger, with information on the entertainment system -, while the rest of the on-board functions are controlled by a 15.1 ”touchscreen, located in the center of the dashboard and also manageable via voice commands. All this is completed by an augmented reality head-up display, which projects the main driving information onto the windscreen, in the driver’s field of vision. On paper, the mass of the vehicle will be mitigated by the low center of gravity, the son of electrical mechanics, and by a complete set of technologies such as air suspension, rear-axle steering (which optimizes agility or stability depending on the driving speed), the active anti-roll bars and torque vectoring, for an optimal distribution of the drive torque between the wheels.

We come to the mechanics: it uses two electron motors, one at the front and the other at the rear, for a total maximum power of 600 HP; the two units are connected to a 100 kWh capacity battery, which should guarantee up to 600 km of approved range. Result: 0-100 covered sprint in 3 seconds and a top speed of 260 km / h. While the 800-volt electrical architecture “accepts” up to 350 kW of direct current power: this means that, allowing columns, up to 400 km of range can be recharged in less than 20 minutes. The first Lotus SUV and electric will be assembled in China, in the new factory of the now famous Wuhan, while the future sports cars of the brand – always electric – will continue to be manufactured in England.

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