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HomeUncategorizedLotus Eletre tested: An electric Lamborghini Urus rival

Lotus Eletre tested: An electric Lamborghini Urus rival

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Lotus has a complex history and is cherished by many British car enthusiasts.

While other manufacturers consistently introduce new models, Lotus’s introduction of a wholly new model is significant.

Therefore, Lotus’s 2022 unveiling of the all-electric Eletre Hyper-SUV was revolutionary for the Hethel-based company. Lotus currently provides only four models.

The 2019 all-electric Evija hypercar, the company’s inaugural model with an electric powertrain, was succeeded by the Eletre, which translates to “coming to life” in specific Eastern European languages.

This luxury hyper-SUV has the dimensions of a Range Rover, has the battery range to rival a Mercedes EQS SUV, and the performance to keep pace with a Lamborghini Urus. However, it is priced at a fraction of the price of the twin-turbo petrol Lambo.

We conducted a week-long test drive of the Eletre to determine whether it is worth investing approximately £100,000 of your hard-earned money in this attention-grabbing electric vehicle.

Lotus, which is a Chinese company, has a British heritage.

Lotus was established in 1948 in London by Colin and Hazel Chapman. Since then, the company has produced numerous iconic vehicles and unforgettable moments in motorsport history.

A former RAF pilot who transitioned to building racing cars, Colin developed the Mark 1 Lotus by reengineering a 1928 Austin Seven.

The Lotus tradition of model names commencing with ‘E’ was initiated by the Lotus Eleven in 1956. Then, whenever someone mentions Elise or Emira, you immediately recognize it as Lotus.

Lotus’ 2.5-mile race track was established at the Hethel factory in Norfolk ten years later, in 1966.

By this time, Lotus had secured the 1963 Formula One Constructors’ and Drivers’ title with the Type 25, which Jim Clark piloted.

The renowned Chapman philosophy of “adding power makes you faster on the straights, subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere” transitioned from strength to strength on both the road and the track.

However, during the 1990s and 2000s, Lotus needed help balancing low-volume output and high investment costs. In 2017, after two decades in the red, Lotus was sold to Geely, the Chinese automotive behemoth, which acquired a 49.9% stake in the company.

Geely announced last year that it intends to transform the British sports car manufacturer into a premium electric vehicle brand by introducing three new models over four years.

Lotus asserts that the Eletre is “Born British, Raised Globally,” a product of collaboration between the UK, Germany, and the manufacturing facility in Wuhan.

It is a beast of a vehicle with sheer scale. Is it a help or a hindrance?

The Eletre is among the most bulky of all the mammoth SUVs on the road, and we know that vehicles are becoming more extensive.

It is approximately the same size as the Lamborghini Urus (5,103 mm x 2,019 mm x 1,636 mm and 5112 mm x 2016 mm x 1638 mm).

The new Range Rover is approximately 200mm taller than these imposing SUVs despite being more extended and broader.

Within a week, I drove the Eletre from London to Wittering on the south coast, Bedfordshire, and Canterbury. This vehicle can’t be practical in a city.

I abruptly reversed course to find an alternative route when I encountered the width-restriction bollards on the road in East London. We couldn’t fit.

Currently, this is a widespread concern with SUVs.

Transport & Environment (T&E), a green campaign group, discovered that mega SUVs’ are 220cm wider than they were in 2017, including their wing mirrors. Half of the new vehicles are too wide for on-street parking bays.

However, it is unfortunate that you spend a significant amount of time fretting about the possibility of receiving a ticket for exceeding the white line or being frightened of damaging an expensive alloy, given that electric vehicles are excellent for urban travel and the Lotus is a pleasure to operate.

Although it is doubtful that a curbed alloy or parking ticket will significantly impact your bank account if you spend over £100k on a hyper-SUV…

This is marginally mitigated by specific driver assistance: the front and rear cameras are equipped with a centimeter measurement feature, and the parking cameras provide a 360-degree bird’ s-eye view.

The screen displays the precise distance to the obstacle in front and behind, which is a godsend.

Practicality is the question.

It is an exceedingly space-efficient automobile for an environmentally conscientious purchaser who is content with an immobile Chelsea Tractor.

At one point, a bag slid directly against the rear seats, necessitating that I ascend into the trunk to retrieve it. The 688-litre load space extends that far.

It is over 70 litres larger than the Urus but 37 litres smaller than the new five-seater Range Rover.

For added context, the BMW iX has a cargo capacity of 500 litres, while the Mercedes EQS SUV has a boot capacity of 610 litres.

A 45-litre froot (front boot) accommodates the AC charging cable; however, the shape could have been more conducive to inserting the cable. Opening it was somewhat cumbersome, requiring the user to draw a lever twice by the passenger’s feet.

However, the cabin is exceedingly spacious and ideal for families.

What is the interior like?

Customers have the option of selecting between a four-seat or five-seat configuration.

A £2,000 Comfort Pack option was included with my five-seater.

This included eight-way adjustable and heated front seats, four-way front seat lumbar support, and memory front seats that retain the preferred settings of the driver and passenger.

The Hyper OS infotainment system is new to the Eletre and is the first Lotus to feature it. The system is transparent, simple to navigate, and visually stunning.

I was particularly attracted to the streamlined, ultra-thin 12.6-inch OLED instrument cluster located behind the steering wheel. It functions in perfect harmony with the 29-inch head-up display.

It does not interfere with the driving experience, and the flat-bottomed wheel and flappy controls are fully appreciated without the distraction of a glaring screen in the background.

Additionally, I was particularly attracted to the manner in which the light traverses the strip screen as the vehicle charges.

The Eletre is prominently displayed on the primary infotainment screen, which is a 15.1-inch display with a Lotus yellow background upon your arrival.

The front passenger also features a touchscreen strip, which is advantageous for adult passengers but irritating for children who are inclined to prod the screen. Additionally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are pre-installed.

The drive selector, fast access buttons, and a wireless charging pad are located in the center console. The stowage console is satisfactory; however, the push-down cup holders are problematic and could be more substantial.

The interior is exquisitely crafted, providing a level of luxury comparable to that of a Range Rover or Urus, which may cost nearly twice as much as the Eletre.

Red stitching throughout the interior, charcoal grey/black seats, and red contrast seat belts contributed to the cabin’s rugged, sporty appearance.

The interior emphasizes sustainability.

Lotus introduced the Eletre, composed of ‘Re-Fibre,’ a material derived from waste fabric from the fashion industry. This material has a texture reminiscent of a blend of silk and cotton. Additionally, Lotus has introduced carbon-neutral Alcantara and Econyl carpets derived from recycled consumer waste.

I connect my Spotify and evaluate the sound system when entering a new vehicle. The Eletre S has a KEF Premium 23-speaker surround system supporting Dolby Atmos.

Altering the information system’s parameters from ‘Spatial’ to ‘Stage’ will broadcast the music as if you were in the front row at a concert.

This was ideal for musical accompaniment during a solo road journey.

Regarding driving, what is the experience like?

The Urus boasts 650 horsepower, while the Eletre S generates 603 horsepower and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds. Its maximum speed is 160 mph.

I have also had the opportunity to operate the 905hp Eletre R on the track, and while it was an utter blast, the 603hp is more than sufficient for even the most performance-oriented driver.

The Eletre Lotus is the first all-wheel-drive road automobile, thanks to the electric motors on the front and rear axles.

The suspension and rigid body structure are fundamental components of Lotus DNA, and the low center of gravity is tangible due to the battery’s placement between the axles.

It starts in Tour mode, but you can switch to Off-road (although it is uncertain when you would ever need to use it), Range, Sports, and Individual using the right steering wheel paddle.

As anticipated, sport enhances the ride quality, lowers the vehicle, and firms up the seating. Additionally, it operates with exceptional precision.

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It is genuinely a well-organized drive that effortlessly navigates obstacles.

It is most effective on the motorway; however, due to its mid-speed acceleration, it is crucial to exercise caution, as it is exceedingly simple to exceed the speed limit. The brakes are a touch too sharp for everyday cruising. Additionally, they are pretty sharp.

It effectively manages the weight of nearly 2.5 tonnes, although it necessitates full attention and caution when negotiating narrower country bends.

The rear spoiler generates up to 112.5 kg of downforce and deploys when the vehicle is driven at high speeds. It gives the vehicle a pleasant sports car flare and is beneficial for road handling.

I was extremely relieved that the S was equipped with conventional wing mirrors, as opposed to the electronic cameras in the R that I had previously driven. Wing mirror cameras are an unnecessary technological innovation; however, they are nearly dangerous when operating a vehicle of this magnitude, as they necessitate frequent mirror inspections.

Okay, it is rapid; however, what is its range?

Here is the point at which the pleasure that motivates you transitions into frustration.

The Eletre’s claimed range is 373 miles on a single charge based on its 112kWh battery. However, it consumes that amount of energy at a much faster rate than the brochure indicates.

Additionally, the device’s Range mode did not appear to help; approximately sixty-five percent of the specified range was achieved.

Therefore, I would not be inclined to place my confidence in the predicted range, and I do not typically experience range anxiety. This also resulted in a significantly higher cost than anticipated for the week’s charging, as I depend on public charging.

What is the duration of the charging process?

The 112kWh battery in both variants can be charged from 10% to 80% capacity using a 350kW DC ultra-rapid charger in just 20 minutes. In just five minutes, you can achieve a range of 74 miles.

The maximum capacity of AC charging is 22kW, which results in a fall charge within approximately six hours.

The charging port is exceptionally well-designed; it can be accessed by the infotainment screen or by pressing the charging port cover. Subsequently, a straightforward button is located adjacent to the port to shut it.

It is as long as a barge; however, does it appear appealing?

I would like to know whether I have ever operated a vehicle in London that has attracted such attention. Or, to be honest, anywhere.

Individuals were still gazing in the crowded Wittering field ‘car park‘ on the way to the shore. The reason is not the commotion; it is a silent ghost.

As you pass, you can observe heads swivelling 180 degrees and the phrase “there’s a Urus… wait, no, it’s not…”Additionally, it is powered by electricity. Like the cogs in a well-oiled machine, the thought process “what is that?” moves through individuals’ minds.

It appears to be exceptional.

The front features an Esprit-inspired flat snout, a dominating open-mouth black grille, and angular aerodynamic cutouts. The daytime running lights are also broody.

The two-curved blade front and rear spoilers make it reminiscent of a predatory fish or crocodile (in a positive sense).

The 23-inch alloys with red callipers are also responsible for the vehicle’s increased road presence.

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