Lotus Eletre SUV price range and specs detailed with first 'end-to-end autonomous driving' LiDAR kit
Lotus has released the price range and battery specs of its upcoming Eletre lineup of "Hyper SUV" models and they are rather impressive. The boutique sports car automaker on whose Elise platform Elon Musk built the first Tesla Roadster, was subsequently acquired by Geely, and is now fully invested in the electric vehicle era.
The Lotus Eletre will launch in several trims that will be different for Europe, UK, US, or China. The European Eletre S and Eletre R pricing starts at the equivalent of US$84,000, while the Chinese S+ and R+ models commence at US$114,000, with the latter offering an acceleration from 0-62 mph in under 3 seconds.
The racing spirit of Lotus is covered by a dual-motor powertrain with up to 675 kW and 985 Nm torque. In fact, the most powerful Eletre R will be capable of 905 HP output which Lotus claims will make it the quickest production SUV at the time of its release which will happen a few years from now. The US will "only" get the cheapest entry level trim with 600 HP in 2024, though.
The high-capacity 112 kWh Lotus Eletre battery offers up to 373 miles range on a charge, or up to 650km for the Chinese models according to the local CLTC range testing standard. A modern 800V charging system allows for 20 minutes of top-up to hit an 80% battery capacity from a 10% charge at dedicated fast chargers that will be open to all electric vehicles.
This is all fairly standard fare for performance electric SUV coming from one of the main Chinese brands, yet Lotus has spiced up its offering not only with a rather distinctive "porous" sporty design, but also with a unique self-driving system. The Eleve models will come with the first LiDAR kit that support end-to-end autonomous driving, claims Lotus, provided by no less than four LiDARs from manufacturers like Hesai and Robosense. The autonomous driving hardware is supplemented by seven high-res 8MP cameras, as well as a 4D mmWave radar, and the processing is done onboard by custom Qualcomm and NVIDIA chips.
This exclusive self-driving hardware set can scan "200 metres around the car in every direction, generating a sophisticated 3D map of the surroundings to detect obstacles even in low light or inclement weather," says Lotus, unlike Tesla's autonomous driving option that only relies on its Vision camera system which barely functions when the cameras are covered in snow or sleet, for instance.
The Lotus Eletre will be shipping to European and Chinese customers in May, while the North American version will launch later, in 2024.