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Lotus Eletre

ELECTRIC STORM (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

The battery-powered Eletre SUV is controversial but Jonathan Crouch thinks it defines what a new-era Lotus can be.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 42

Lotus describes its Eletre high performance EV crossover as 'a desirable all-new lifestyle car for our next generation of customers'. It's very different from anything you'd expect a car from this British brand to be. But the same time, satisfyingly Lotus too.

Backgroundword count: 239

Should Lotus be building an electric car? Or full-EV? Well the facts are that if it doesn't, it won't survive. And the British brand has spent too much of its seventy year history barely surviving. Time for something different: time for this, the Lotus Eletre. With this performance SUV, the British brand reinvents itself as an electric performance car maker, in the process leap-frogging rivals Ferrari and Aston Martin, both yet to take that final step. Three other uber-fast Lotus EVs are set to follow by 2025, including the Evija hypercar. It's all a far cry from the Lotus of just a few years ago, a cottage British brand hand-building lightweight little sports cars for the few that wanted them. The company's acquisition by Chinese giant Geely in 2017 changed all that. Now, Lotus is so well funded that its boss Matt Hindle has been poached from Tesla and it has a dedicated Lotus Technology Centre in Coventry 'for the creation of lifestyle cars', of which the Eletre is the first. Impressively, instead of merely borrowing a platform from fellow Geely brands Volvo and Polestar, Lotus has created its own, the 'Electric Premium Architecture'. And manufacturing will take place at the Geely plant in Wuhan, China which will eventually be putting out up to 50,000 examples of this car a year. A whole new world for Lotus then. Would you want to be a part of it? Read on.

Engines and Tech Specword count: 281

Lotus claims the Eletre has been engineered to deliver everything you would expect from the brand, in terms of ride and handling, steering and driver engagement. There's a clever three- in-one electric motor system integrating motor, controller and reducer into one package. And thanks to copious use of carbon fibre and aluminium, this car is light by EV standards too. Just one reason why the company is able to claim that the Eletre is the world's fastest dual motor production SUV, a boast that applies to the top variant, the Eletre R. This has combined motor output of 905bhp accessed (unusually in an EV) by a dual-speed transmission which allows for faster acceleration. The 62mph sprint is dispatched in just 2.95s en route to 165mph. Plus there's lowered suspension, race-style damper settings and anti-roll control. The 'R' also comes with a 'Lotus Dynamic Handling Pack' (optional on other models) which gives you launch control and grippier tyres. Plus a 'Track' driving mode which firms up the dampers, lowers the ride height and gives you tauter anti-roll control. The more affordable Eletre and Eletre S models also use a dual motor (so AWD) format, but have a lower (but still prodigious) system output of 603bhp accessed through single-speed auto paddle shift transmission. 62mph is 4.5s away en route to 160mph. All Eletre variants use the same big 112kWh battery, which offers a 304 mile range in the R version - or 373 miles in the other models. Active aerodynamics, air suspension with active ride height control and adaptive damping are standard on all variants. Options include active rear axle steering, carbon ceramic brakes and torque vectoring via an electronic limited slip differential.

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Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

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This is an excerpt from our full review.
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