Lotus’ First Electric SUV Takes Tesla to Task on Performance and Self-Driving

Don’t let the rather uninspired look of the Lotus Eletre fool you — it can hit 0 to 62 mph in less than three seconds. Fast acceleration aside, Lotus’ first electric SUV feels like a major departure from its much flashier siblings like the Emira and Evija.

The Eletre was designed to eventually accommodate Level 4 autonomous driving.

Lotus

Lotus says its “hyper-SUV” features the same style as its sports cars while offering SUV comfort, but all we’re seeing is a somewhat generic-looking luxury SUV. That should appeal to the U.S. market though, since Lotus is looking to expand to the North American market next year. The Eletre will be entering a crowded EV segment and have to go against the likes of the Cadillac Lyriq, the BMW iX, and the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Still, Lotus is hoping that the potential for Level 4 autonomous driving will separate the Eletre from the competition.

SPORTY SPECS, SUV COMFORT

Lotus offers its electric SUV in three different configurations: the base Eletre, the Eletre S, and the Eletre R. All three trims will use a dual-motor setup powered by a 112 kWh battery pack, but the base Eletre and the Eletre S will top out at 603 horsepower while the premium Eletre R gives you way more performance at 905 horsepower.

The performance version of the Lotus Eletre will get from 0 to 62 mph in less than three seconds.

Lotus

Lotus says the Eletre R has a 0 to 62 mph in less than 2.95 seconds, while the remaining two configurations can do that in 4.5 seconds. With less power output, the base Eletre and Eletre S have a max range of 373 miles, but the sportier Eletre R gets you 304 miles on a single charge. You can charge up the Eletre models from 10 to 80 percent in 20 minutes through fast charging.

Those specs make the Eletre a promising performance EV, but Lotus wants to elevate its electric SUV with the potential for Level 4 autonomous driving down the line. As reported by Autocar, Lotus will be incorporating several lidar sensors into the Eletre that allow for autonomous driving.

Li Bo, CEO of Lotus’ Robotics division, told Autocar that the Eletre is already close to being a Level 3 car, but the carmaker is hoping to achieve Level 4 capabilities eventually. According to the Autocar report, the autonomous driving system would also progressively learn from how you drive, adjusting to if you’re an aggressive or more passive driver.

The Lotus Eletre is coming to the U.S. in 2024.

Lotus

NO U.S. TAX CREDITS

Lotus kicked off deliveries of its Eletre in China in early 2023 and is expected to offer the electric SUV to European markets in the coming months. In Europe, Lotus priced the Eletre at €95,990, or around $105,000. Beyond those markets, Lotus says it will offer the Eletre to North America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and other markets starting in 2024.

Keep in mind that Lotus is owned by Geely, the Chinese car conglomerate that also runs Volvo and Polestar. That means that the Eletre is being built in China, so it won’t qualify for the U.S. tax credits. There’s also the price; SUVs with an MSRP of more than $80,000 are ineligible. That definitely makes it a harder sell for U.S. customers, but it still may be worth it if you’re a fan of Lotus or are seeking some futureproofing with the Eletre’s expected Level 4 capabilities.

Don’t let the rather uninspired look of the Lotus Eletre fool you — it can hit 0 to 62 mph in less than three seconds. Fast acceleration aside, Lotus’ first electric SUV feels like a major departure from its much flashier siblings like the Emira and Evija. The Eletre was designed to eventually accommodate Level…

Don’t let the rather uninspired look of the Lotus Eletre fool you — it can hit 0 to 62 mph in less than three seconds. Fast acceleration aside, Lotus’ first electric SUV feels like a major departure from its much flashier siblings like the Emira and Evija. The Eletre was designed to eventually accommodate Level…