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Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Lotus Eletre Review

The Lotus Eletre ‘hyper-SUV’ offers huge performance, amazing body control, a long driving range, ultra-rapid charging, stunning design inside and out, and lots of space – just don’t expect all that to be delivered in a small, lightweight sports car package.

  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
  • Lotus Eletre
Green Car Guide Rating: 10/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   Lotus Eletre S
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): Up to 373 miles (308 miles for test car)
  • Maximum ultra-rapid charging rate:   350 kW

Summary

  • Stunning design
  • Huge performance
  • Amazing body control
  • Long driving range, ultra-rapid 350kW charging

Background

Mention the word Lotus and the vast majority of people will associate the brand with small, lightweight sports cars. Unfortunately it’s a challenge to build a profitable car company based on only selling niche two-seater sports cars. So Lotus has gone down the road well-travelled by other brands of bringing an SUV to market. However the company hasn’t chosen to introduce a petrol-powered compact or mid-size SUV, instead it has chosen to give us the Eletre, a large ‘hyper-SUV’ that’s all-electric and a technical tour de force. So for people who might like the idea of a Lotus driving experience, but who need space for a family, how does the Eletre perform?

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre

Design & Engineering

The Lotus Eletre looks stunning (although it certainly looks better in colours other than the grey of our test car) and the SUV/crossover/coupe silhouette shape is the body style that most of today’s car buyers aspire to. From the front the Eletre looks like a piece of serious supercar machinery, and the rear makes it very clear that there’s a lot of air being moved around and through the bodywork. Two large ducts take air from the rear wheel arches through to the rear of the car, in addition to the air being channelled from the front of the car with exits through vents in the bonnet. An active front grille allows air to cool the powertrain and brakes, or the grille can stay closed in cold environments to retain heat.

The air ducts around the Eletre look impressive but they’re primarily designed for function rather than form – in the style of the Lotus Evija electric hypercar, the idea is to make the vehicle more aerodynamic; the result is a drag coefficient of 0.26, which helps to improve performance and efficiency.

At the rear there’s a split carbon fibre floating roof spoiler and an active rear spoiler which automatically adjusts between three positions, depending on vehicle speed, acceleration, braking and drive mode setting, and this can improve aerodynamics, increase downforce, and aid deceleration.

Just like the exterior, the interior is certainly a world apart from what you would have traditionally experienced in a Lotus. The overall design looks luxurious, futuristic and very high-tech. The Eletre comes as standard with five seats, but it can be specified as a four-seater. There’s lots of rear legroom, with a flat floor, and a very large boot – 688 litres for the five-seat version, or 1,532 litres with the rear seats folded down, and a front trunk (‘frunk’), offers 46 litres to accommodate charging cables. Of course the Eletre should offer lots of space, as the car measures a whopping 5,103 mm in length.

Under the skin sits an EV platform developed by the Chinese majority owner of Lotus, Geely. Because this is a big car, you can fit a big battery in it – 111.9 kWh to be precise (109 kWh usable capacity). And the Eletre has an 800-volt electrical architecture rather than the more common 400-volt system; the key benefit of this is ultra-rapid 350 kW charging.

The Eletre S, as tested, has dual electric motors delivering 603 hp of power and 710 Nm of torque, with a single-speed transmission (the Eletre R features a two-speed transmission, which aims to deliver improved performance and efficiency).

The size of the car, its large battery and all of its technology results in the Eletre S weighing 2,595 kg. This is the equivalent of around three Lotus Elises. So you can’t get away from the fact that the Eletre is big and heavy for a Lotus, but a benefit of this is that you can use it to tow a caravan weighing up to 2,250 kg.

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre Driving Experience

We’ve talked about the weight issue, so let’s now talk about the Eletre’s superpower – how it deals with that weight. Point the Eletre at a road with a series of long sweeping corners and the body control through the bends is amazing for a car weighing 2,595 kg – defying the laws of gravity, the car stays pretty much flat at all times thanks to air suspension – a far cry from what would happen if you tried this in an SUV such as a 1970’s Range Rover. The Eletre’s primary ride quality is excellent, although to achieve the sort of handling that feels like it’s been designed for a racetrack, it’s on the firm side of comfort.

And then there’s the grip. The Eletre is all-wheel drive, which ensures excellent traction, and the Pirelli P Zero tyres – sitting on 23-inch wheels on our test car – have been developed specifically for the Eletre, and they ensure the all-wheel drive system translates power to the tarmac. The active aero features also help with the downforce, making the Eletre feel super-stable at high speeds.

So you’ve got well-controlled handling and lots of grip, all you need now is performance. With 603 hp of power, 710 Nm of torque and a 0-62 mph time of 4.5 seconds, the Eletre doesn’t disappoint. Its party trick is its acceleration at higher speeds, thanks to a 50-75mph acceleration time of 2 seconds – if you come across a slow-moving vehicle on an A-road, flooring the accelerator results in you passing it at warp speed. Of course all the performance is delivered in the normal refined and quiet EV way – 70mph feels like 30mph – aside from a small amount of noise generated by the huge tyres on some road surfaces.

The Eletre’s electromechanical power steering is sharp and direct – which is very different to the cushion-like feel of the steering in many SUVs. And the steering wheel spokes are even narrow enough to wrap your hands around, which is a rarity in new cars.

The steering wheel features a paddle on the right-hand side which allows you to change the drive mode, with options of Tour (the default mode), Range, Sport, Off-Road and Individual (these modes can also be selected via the central touchscreen). When you change the drive mode, a window pops up on the touchscreen to confirm any resulting change in ride height – the car can lower itself by up to 25mm at high speeds to reduce drag and improve range, or increase ride height by 15-25mm for off-road driving (you can also lower the rear of the car for loading via a button in the boot).

The small gear selector doesn’t give you the option to increase the level of brake regeneration, but there’s a paddle on the left of the steering wheel which allows you to select from two levels of regen by pressing either the top or bottom of the paddle.

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre

The Eletre’s cockpit features a slim, central 15.1-inch touchscreen that displays very sharp graphics, with a 12.6-inch instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, a 29-inch head-up display, and there’s even a narrow screen for the front passenger which displays basic information such as media selections.

Cabin temperature controls sit at the bottom of the touchscreen (unless you’re using Apple CarPlay, when these disappear); if you press these controls, a screen pops up with more climate options, many of which, such as for the fan, are quite small. There are also physical cabin temperature controls on the centre console.

Even rear-seat passengers have their own screen to control functions such as climate control as well as seat adjustments, ambient lighting and media playback.

The Eletre offers two audio systems, a KEF Premium 1,380-watt, 15-speaker, surround sound system and a KEF Reference 2,160-watt, 23-speaker system featuring 3D surround sound. However the only obvious physical volume control is on the right-hand side of the steering wheel, and trying to change the radio station seems less user-friendly than in most other cars.

The Eletre features 34 sensors including four deployable LIDAR, six radar, seven 8MP HD cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors, giving the vehicle a 360º view and enabling advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). There’s also a Driver Monitoring System which beeps at you if it thinks you’re tired or distracted, which itself can be somewhat distracting. In fact there are a lot of beeps and boings. And there is significant corruption of the steering until the lane departure warning system is switched off, which is done via the cog symbol at the bottom of the touchscreen, and then the safety systems sub-menu needs to be selected from a number of different sub-menu tabs – you cal also switch off the driver attention warnings from here.

Overall, the Eletre’s cockpit works well, but we did find the adjustment for the door mirrors slightly unusual; to do this you need to press a button on the door trim, which is almost completely hidden under the dashboard trim, and then information appears on the driver’s information display to prompt you to select the left or right mirror, and then to adjust the position of the mirrors by using a control on the right hand side of the steering wheel.

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre Electric Range and Charging

The Lotus Eletre has an official combined WLTP driving range of up to 373 miles, although the figure for our test car was 308 miles – presumably the huge 23-inch wheels are a key factor in being responsible for this disparity. After a week of mixed driving, with over 80% at motorway speeds, the average real-world range was 290 miles. At motorway speeds, the Eletre’s range display on the dashboard was very predictable, compared to some EVs where the range drops quickly.

The Eletre has one of the highest ultra-rapid DC charging speeds of any EV on sale today: 350 kW. This can potentially allow a charge from 10% to 80%, equivalent to 250 miles, in just 20 minutes, or the ability to add 74 miles of range in just five minutes.

The Eletre also has standard 22 kW AC charging, which can provide a full charge in less than six hours.

It’s all sounding very good about the Eletre, but there’s one figure to note: it has an electricity consumption of 2.2 miles/kWh. A reasonably efficient EV will have a figure of around 4 miles/kWh; the Eletre’s figure is a reflection of its size, weight and performance.

How to charge an electric car

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre

Price And Model Range

There are three models available; the Eletre, from £89,500, the Eletre S, from £104,500, and the Eletre R, from £120,000. The Eletre comes as standard with a five-seat configuration, or an optional four-seat layout.

The Eletre’s standard specification includes active air suspension, continuous damping control, torque vectoring, Lotus Intelligent Dynamic Chassis Control, 22-inch 10-spoke forged wheels in silver with a diamond-turned finish (20-inch five-spoke in European markets), Matrix LED headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Visual Park Assist, four-zone climate control, 12-way electric-adjust front seats, head-up display, wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, and a 1,380W 15-speaker KEF Premium Audio system.

The Eletre S specification includes additional features such as soft door close, privacy glass, active rear spoiler, configurable ambient lighting, illuminated side sills, air quality system, 2,160-watt 23-speaker KEF Reference Audio system, and 22-inch 10-spoke forged wheels in grey with a diamond-turned finish.

Our Eletre S test car also had the following items of equipment: Lotus Active Aero – Front Grill, Floating Split Roof Spoiler, LiDAR System, 4-Way Electric Adjustable Steering Column – With Memory, Five Drive Modes (Range, Tour, Sport, Individual, Off Road), Lightweight Brake Discs with 6 Piston Calipers, Rear Privacy Glass (Grey Glass), Gloss Black Aluminium Roof with Black Roof Rails, Multifunction Heated Steering Wheel, and Premium Ambient Lighting. A panoramic glass roof also offers 10 different settings for the amount of light transmitted into the cabin.

In addition our test came with 23″ Multi-spoke Grey Diamond Turned alloy wheels, Kaimu Grey paint, Active Aero Pack and Highway Assist Pack. The total price for our test car was £119,050.

The Eletre R is the top of the range performance model, with 905 hp and a 0-62 mph time of 2.95 seconds, along with the Lotus Dynamic Handling Pack (comprising Intelligent Active Roll Control and Active Rear Steering), Carbon Pack, Pirelli P Zero performance tyres, a gloss black finish for the wheels and a sixth Drive Mode: Track. WLTP combined range is 304 miles.

If you like the sound of the Eletre but want something lower-riding than an SUV, the Lotus Emeya electric four-door ‘hyper-GT’ saloon is coming soon.

Lotus Eletre

Lotus Eletre

Conclusion

The Lotus Eletre is a highly impressive car in many ways. It looks stunning on the outside with a well-designed, technology-laden cabin exuding a futuristic feel, it has amazing body control, incredible grip, huge performance, a long driving range, and one of the fastest ultra-rapid charging rates of any EV on sale.

The Eletre is a grand tourer ideal for long, fast journeys, and if your chosen roads resemble racetracks, with lots of sweeping bends, even better. We would suggest that the ‘entry-level’ Eletre may be the most sensible buy.

However the Eletre also weighs the equivalent of three Lotus Elises, it’s big (which means it’s spacious but also a bit cumbersome on narrow roads and in standard-sized parking spaces), its efficiency figure falls well short of the average EV, and some of the safety systems impact too much on the driving experience. There’s also the price to consider, which can hardly be described as affordable, but many electric performance SUVs and crossovers are approaching the £100,000+ bracket.

Overall, the Lotus Eletre shows how desirable electric cars can be, and of course, excluding the very low volume Evija hypercar, it’s the first Lotus with zero tailpipe emissions, so it’s very hard to award it anything less than a Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Lotus Eletre Review

  • Test electric driving range: 290 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): 2.2 miles/kWh
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2024/25): 2%
  • Price:   £119,050
  • Insurance group:   50
  • Power:   603 hp
  • Torque:   710 Nm
  • Max speed:   160 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   4.5 seconds
  • Weight:   2,595 kg
  • Towing capacity:  2,250 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor