Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - 13

ROAD READY
Lotus breaks out with new Eletre electric SUV
Lotus Cars recently revealed its first SUV,
which is itself a radical step for the purist
British sportscar brand. But the new battery-electric
Eletre also breaks ground in
being Lotus's first 5-door production
vehicle and is likely to be the company's
first product to sell in significant volume.
The Eletre will be built at a new production
facility in Wuhan, China, and features
an aluminum body.
Known internally as the Type 132,
Eletre will use Lotus's new Electric
Premium Architecture (EPA), which has
been designed to be easily adapted to
accommodate batteries and powertrain
components for a range of vehicle sizes
from C+ to E+, as well as intelligent
driving technologies. The Eletre is the
first of these models and will be joined
by two others built at the Wuhan plant.
One of these is expected to be a smaller
electric SUV. Lotus expects to sell
around 100,000 Eletres annually, with
principal markets in China, Japan,
Europe and the U.S. Still headquartered
in Hethel, England, since 2017 Lotus
Cars has been majority-owned by
Zhejiang Geely Holding Group.
Eletre will be powered by two electric
motors, one driving the front wheels and
the other driving the rears. Each motor is
integrated with a controller and reducer,
designed to make the unit lighter and
The Lotus Eletre's flexible
architecture includes a rearwheel
steering package.
smaller. Power output will start from 600
hp (447 kW), powered by a 100-plus
kWh battery pack housed in the vehicle
floor. Maximum range on the WLTP driving
cycles is expected to be 373 miles
(600 km). The SUV will be equipped
with rear-wheel steering.
As a high-performance EV, Eletre
earns another Lotus milestone: It will be
the company's heaviest vehicle ever
- by a long shot. Target curb weight, at
4400 lb. (1995 kg), is roughly 1400 lb.
(635 kg) heavier than the Esprit V8 of
2004. But Lotus's engineers expect it to
be significantly lighter than other EV
performance cars.
" The big thing, at the very start, was
that it was a completely new platform
to us, " Gavan Kershaw, Lotus's director,
Attributes and Product Integrity, told
SAE Media. " We knew it was going to
be fully electric. It was going to have a
lot of power, and we wanted it to be
dynamically engaging. It didn't have to
be aggressive and frantic, but it had to
be everything you wanted from it. "
Those basic performance metrics, set
nearly four years ago, established the
Eletre's chassis hardware set: electric
all-wheel drive with torque vectoring;
active independent rear-wheel steer;
double-wishbone front suspension;
multi-link rear; air suspension with twinchamber
CDC dampers; active roll control
and de-coupled brake systems.
Peter Horbury, whose five decades in
Lotus designers created the Eletre's cockpit and HMI to retain its purist-sportscar customer base
while attracting a new demographic.
AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING
automotive design includes noteworthy
periods at Ford and Volvo, is Lotus's
senior VP and executive advisor, Design.
He explained the challenges and opportunities
of creating the new Eletre.
" We're dealing with a global market and
cultures and things are so different, still
to this day, that we might be talking
about an age group in America of 45,
50, 55 years of age. In China, we might
be talking about 25, " Horbury said. " If
you design a car not to upset anybody,
you'll never excite anybody. "
John Kendall
August 2022 13
BOTH IMAGES: LOTUS CARS

Automotive Engineering - August 2022

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Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - Intro
Automotive Engineering - August 2022 - Sponsor1
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