Lotus is close to revealing an SUV. Yes, the company famous for lightweight sports cars is expanding into vehicles normally found at the grocery store car park instead of at the track. The move is necessary to boost Lotus’ financial health, and the profits generated should lead to new and better sports cars.
The new SUV, previously referred to by its code name Type 132, will go by the name Eletre, Lotus announced on Sunday. The debut is scheduled for March 29 but we already have a good idea as to what the Eletre will look like: Lotus has provided glimpses of the design in a teaser video, and patent drawings showing the complete design recently surfaced on the website of an Australian registry for intellectual property.
The Eletre is one of four new vehicles Lotus has in the works, all of them electric. Also in the pipeline is a smaller crossover (Type 134), a four-door coupe (Type 133), and a sports car (Type 135).
The Eletre (and most likely the Type 134) will be based on a modular EV platform called Evolution. A pair of dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrains are expected to be on offer, with the more powerful of these expected to deliver as much as 750 hp. And the biggest battery should have more than 100 kilowatt-hours of capacity.
Lotus Type 132 SUV patent drawing – Photo credit: Wuhan Lotus Cars/IP Australia
China is expected to be the biggest market for the Eletre, which will target the Porsche Cayenne and perhaps even the Aston Martin DBX, and as a result production will be handled there, specifically at a new plant constructed in the city of Wuhan. The plant will also be home to production of the smaller crossover and four-door coupe. Production of Lotus sports cars will remain at the company’s home in Hethel, U.K. Production volumes for the Eletre (and other models built in Wuhan) will be higher than your typical Lotus, though still limited.
After the launch of the Eletre, Lotus will launch the Type 133 four-door coupe in 2023 and the Type 134 crossover in 2025. Lotus will then launch the Type 135 sports car in 2026, a model that is to be twinned with an Alpine sports car. As mentioned, all the vehicles will be electric. Lotus has confirmed that the recently launched Emira sports car is its last to be fitted with an internal-combustion engine.