More from Motoring

Photos shot by Kartik Gilatar

The Lotus Eletre stands as a bold departure from the iconic sportscars that have defined Lotus, marking the British manufacturer’s foray into the realm of high-performance all-electric SUVs. This shift in ethos reflects the evolving landscape of the automotive industry, aligning with the success stories of renowned manufacturers like Porsche and Lamborghini, which have seamlessly transitioned into the world of performance SUVs. The Lotus Eletre aims to combine the brand’s commitment to performance with the practicality and versatility demanded by the growing market for electric SUVs, showcasing Lotus’s dedication to innovation and staying ahead of the curve.

Interestingly, Lotus has some historical ties to SUVs, collaborating with Mahindra on the Scorpio’s handling setup, showcasing its influence even in the realm of rugged off-road vehicles. Beyond SUVs, Lotus has left its mark on diverse models, featuring the ‘Handling by Lotus’ badge on cars like the Proton Satria GTI and the Isuzu Piazza, emphasizing its commitment to optimising driving dynamics.  Furthermore, its collaboration with Tesla, where the Lotus Elise chassis underpinned the early Tesla Roadster showcases Lotus’s role in pioneering electric mobility—a journey that has culminated in the development of the Lotus Eletre, an all-electric performance SUV.

The Lotus Eletre, a groundbreaking entry into the electric SUV realm, shatters conventional perceptions with its refreshing design language. Departing from the stereotypical bulky SUV aesthetic, the Eletre embraces a distinctive identity characterised by sharp lines, aerodynamic sculpting, and an unmistakably futuristic allure. In a bold departure from Lotus’s traditional association with low-riding sports cars, the Eletre seamlessly blends SUV practicality with the brand’s core values of performance and agility. When it comes to EVs, aerodynamics is usually a major concern due to the positioning of the batteries and the vehicle’s design, including its size, weight, and shape. The Eletre has a drag coefficient of just 0.26, which is a great value for a crossover SUV.

Prioritising efficiency, its silhouette features a sloping roofline and an active rear spoiler to minimise drag, while a sculpted bumper ensures effective air channelling for optimal cooling and stability at high speeds. The interplay of sharp creases and angular lines across the body creates a visually dynamic stance, emphasising the Eletre’s athleticism. Adding both style and functionality, the active grille adapts based on cooling needs, exemplifying the SUV’s technological prowess. Slim LED headlights with integrated running lights contribute to its focused appearance while flush-fitting, retractable door handles underscore it’s modernity and sleek aerodynamics, accentuating the Eletre’s overall clean and captivating exterior design.

Stepping into the Lotus Eletre is like entering a futuristic oasis. The frameless doors open to reveal a minimalistic Scandinavian design, exuding spaciousness and luxury. Crafted with precision, the interior seamlessly blends performance and sustainability through cutting-edge technology and natural materials. The dashboard hosts two digital displays, serving as the instrument cluster and central infotainment hub. Haptic feedback and voice control replace traditional buttons, offering an intuitive and futuristic user experience. The sustainable marble centre console houses a sleek drive selector and customisable driving modes, allowing users to tailor the Eletre’s performance with a simple touch.

For sustainability by using an environmentally friendly alternative to leather, ensuring an odour-free and long-lasting material. The interior features 100 per cent recycled (and recyclable) fibre in the carpets and boot liners. The front seats, electrically adjustable in 12 ways with massage functions, provide a personalised touch to the driving experience. A standout element in the cabin is the expansive 15.1-inch HD touchscreen, boasting exceptional quality and responsiveness. With minimal physical buttons, the system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, connected to a 23-speaker KEF audio system with Dolby Atmos — a first in the automotive world

One thing you also have to note is the speaker cover designs — they look like turbines in a jet, with a copper finish to them which gives them a unique look.

The Lotus Hyper OS, borrowing technology from the gaming industry creates real-time 3D content. The Eletre’s interior lacks a start/stop button — you can simply unlock the vehicle, get in, switch to Drive, and go — this is slowly becoming common, with other manufacturers like Volvo and Tesla not having a stop/start button.

Three versions of the SUV have been introduced to the Indian market: the Eletre, Eletre S, and Eletre R. However, bookings are now only being accepted for the top-spec R model. This version offers the best performance, with a peak torque of 100.4 kg/m and a maximum power output of almost 887 bhp. Taking only 2.95 seconds to go from 0 to 100 kph and with a top speed of 265 kph, the car is prepared for immediate takeoff, making it the fastest dual-motor pure electric SUV globally. What this meant was we could dart our way through city traffic with ease and at a brisk pace. The stated range of the R model is 490 km on a single charge, but if that’s not long enough for you, the other 2 variants have a maximum range of 600 kilometres. All of them, nevertheless, share a single 112 kWh battery that can be charged quickly—in just 20 minutes—from 10 per cent to 80 per cent. A 22kW on-board AC charger that can charge a battery from 0 per cent to 100 per cent in less than six hours is included as standard equipment. We had only a couple of hours with the car so really could not test the range or the charge times, however.

Despite its SUV stature, the Eletre doesn’t forget its Lotus pedigree when it comes to handling. The active suspension system dances the fine line between comfort and agility, keeping the ride smooth and composed on uneven roads while allowing for crisp and confident cornering. Its low centre of gravity and intelligent torque distribution further sharpen its response, giving you the adrenaline rush of a Lotus with every twist and turn. The tagline “Handling by Lotus” isn’t just a boast; it’s a tangible experience woven into the Eletre’s every fibre, proving that even an electric SUV can carve corners with the grace and precision of a sports car.

With a starting price of Rs 2.55 crore (ex-showroom), and going up to Rs 2.99 crores for the top R model, the challenge lies in Lotus enhancing its brand recognition in the Indian market. For drivers, it offers an exhilarating experience, akin to a high-performance ICE car in motion, while delivering a blend of luxury and cutting-edge technology. The Eletre is a paradigm shift in the perception long held about Lotus, presenting itself as an ideal platform for the brand’s evolution.