Founded by an innovator par excellence called Colin Chapman, Lotus has been known for its driver-focussed cars. With success following the company on the racetrack, the road-going cars continued to evolve to the point that Lotus became the enthusiast’s favourite fairly quickly. What didn’t change throughout the brand’s history was that the exceptionally gifted cars to come out of Lotus were lightweight. Thus, an SUV isn’t an obvious addition to its line-up, because that essentially changes everything Lotus has been doing for the last few decades. Of course, the brand has offered its engineering and handling prowess to many a carmaker — including for some SUVs — but that’s still consultation.

As Lotus steps towards what looks like an electric-only model range for the future, it also embraces the market’s demand for SUVs, with the introduction of its very own Eletre. A high-performance, all-electric SUV, the Eletre is an unconventional move by Lotus, but it’s also not your usual electric SUV. To find out if it’s any good, and more importantly worthy of the prestigious badge it adorns, we take the Eletre out for a drive.


The first thing that’s noticeable about the Eletre is quite obviously its design. It might be an SUV, but it doesn’t stand out awkwardly like many others. A drag coefficient of 0.26 proves that it’s fairly aerodynamic, but even to the naked eye, it’s a great mix of sporting stance and a distinctly low roofline; with myriad character lines, it’s true to how Lotus describes it: ‘carved by air’. Emphasising porosity, the Eletre’s bodywork is shaped in a way to allow maximum airflow around the car, which also explains the multiple air vents and the active grille up front. The slim LED headlights are in contrast to the large grille, but on the whole the combination does work well — and leaves a lasting impression. Our comments on the SUV’s profile are going to be centred around how low the roof appears — although there’s plenty of space inside — the flush door handles, and the sharply raked rear window. The large, retractable spoiler at the back might take away all the attention, but the wide LED bar running across the width looks neat, too. It’s a nicely designed car that does say that on the move, it’s going to be even faster than it looks.


On the inside, the Eletre’s cabin is a gentle reminder of the generous money buyers will spend on it. The choice of materials is in line with the overall sustainable approach to motoring that the Eletre represents. With 100 per cent recycled — and further recyclable — fibres in the carpet and boot liners, Lotus is clearly sending a message to others here. The supposedly odour-free and long-lasting leather replacement looks and feels nice. The minimalist design does elevate the experience, with a pretty handsome 15.1-inch HD touchscreen being placed neatly at the centre of the dashboard. It runs Lotus Hyper OS and is said to use videogame tech for real-time 3D content. Interaction with the system is done with the help of haptic-feedback-equipped touch inputs and voice commands, with nearly no buttons in sight — except for the rocker switches and a handful of buttons for essential driving features.

On both sides of the large display are two sleek screens — one that serves as the speedometer for the driver and the other working as an infotainment readout for the passenger. The 12-way electrically adjustable front seats come with massage features, and make the cabin a great place to be, whereas space at the back isn’t bad, either. The Eletre also has a 23-speaker KEF audio system, which comes with Dolby Atmos, and it is a definite treat for the ears. Visually, too, the system enhances the cabin, with a turbine-like speaker design complete with a copper finish. Noticeably missing is a start/stop button, the absence of which has been documented in other EVs too. You open the rather nice frameless doors, step inside the cabin, put the selector in drive and just drive off. There’s no need to ‘start’ the car.


Once on the move, the Eletre does very kindly remind you that it still wears the coveted badge. Despite the added weight and size, if you’re looking for complete control, extremely confident cornering, a great rush of power, and nearly everything required to make each drive memorable, the Eletre turns out to be a gift that keeps on giving. It’s agile, and keen to react to your inputs — clearly benefiting from the low centre of gravity and intelligently managed torque delivery. The 5.1-metre-long SUV is underpinned by Lotus’s EPA or Electric Premium Architecture, a scalable electric platform. Two electric motors power the SUV, there’s rear-axle steering and even air suspension. The latter’s benefits further become evident when the Eletre is driven on uneven tarmac. It’s still not every day that you would take your premium SUV with 23-inch wheels on to bad roads, but in case you have to, the Eletre will be just fine.

The minimalist design does elevate the experience, with a pretty handsome 15.1-inch HD touchscreen being placed neatly at the centre of the dashboard

The minimalist design does elevate the experience, with a pretty handsome 15.1-inch HD touchscreen being placed neatly at the centre of the dashboard

Everyday usability with an electric car is largely dependent on factors like range and charging times, and the Eletre doesn’t look too bad on paper. We didn’t have the car for long enough to do a standalone range or charging test, but the claimed figures are good. The 112 kWh battery is shared between all variants (Eletre, Eletre S, and Eletre R) and the range varies between 490 km for the top-spec R and 600 km for the other two. An AC charger (22 kW, no less) is included with the car, and it can charge the onboard battery from zero to full in under six hours. A DC fast charger will be able to get the Eletre from 0 to 80 per cent in just 22 minutes, but that’s dependent on availability.

What seals the deal for the Eletre is the performance on offer. The Eletre R has a maximum power output of 887 bhp and an equally outrageous 100.4 kgm of peak torque. Even for an electric car that’s burdened by heavy batteries, that’s quite something — and the claimed performance figures reflect that. It’s said to be the fastest dual-motor EV SUV, and we see no reason to question that: according to Lotus, 0-100 km/h takes just 2.95 seconds, and the top speed is 265 km/h.

Nothing of this calibre comes cheap, and the Eletre is certainly no exception in that regard. For the base model, you’re looking at spending ₹2.55 crore, whereas the top-spec Eletre R is priced at ₹2.99 crore, both ex-showroom. It’s a unique mix of high-end luxury, fiery performance, and thoroughly enjoyable handling. It might not be like any Lotus car from the past, but when we look back at Lotus a few decades from now, the Eletre will definitely appear as a milestone model. It has the unenviable task of attracting new buyers in India, but the Eletre seems to be equipped rather handsomely for the job.