(Pocket-lint) - Lotus has pulled the covers off the Lotus Eletre, its electric SUV that marks a new chapter in the Hethel company's history.
Now part of the Geely group, Lotus is going to be launching more electric cars and entering segments it has never been in before. The Eletre makes that debut into the SUV segment, while retaining Lotus' performance credentials.
The striking new car is a performance electric SUV, loaded with a battery offering over 100kWh, with a range targeted at 373 miles. It will support charging at up to 350kW.
Aiming to give the Eletre the heart of a sportscar, it will do 0-62mph in under 3 seconds, while offering seating for four. There's 600hp of power and all-wheel drive.
Not only is this Lotus' first SUV, it's also Lotus' first five door car.
With the opportunity to start from the ground up, this is a marked departure from what we've seen from Lotus in the past. The company wants to hang on to its principles, however, saying that the ride, handling and performance all evolves from its sports cars.
There's no shortage of drama either: the Eletre is aggressive and sporty in its looks, with options for 23-inch wheels and ceramic brakes, cameras for wing mirrors and lashings of carbonfibre to keep the weight down.
There are also consumer-friendly features that might leave those used to previous Lotus cars' simplicity agog. There's now a walk-up experience that will make a show as you approach the car, while the front grille is made of interconnecting petals, able to be closed to improve aerodynamics, or to open to feed in air to cool the motors or battery.
Then there's deployable LIDAR. These sensors remain hidden unless they are needed, but can then be deployed to scan the environment around the car and to facilitate in autonomous driving. Together with the car's other cameras, it can create a complete picture around the vehicle.
So this isn't just a sporty-looking SUV. This is a performance SUV that's loaded with technology and that extends to the interior too.
There's a central 15.1-inch landscape OLED display - very Tesla - and a reduced driver display, while the interior lighting plays its part in communicating with the occupants too, able to reflect the charge status or alert to things like incoming calls.
The blade of light across the dash extends to the passenger side too, so they can also interact with the car.
There's voice support, a heads-up augmented reality display, and a sound system from performance audio brand KEF, with a 800-watt 15-speaker system as standard.
It's not just the central display that looks like Tesla, it will also deliver experiences like Tesla's Summon, allowing the driver to call the car from a parking space via the smartphone app and drive to a destination and then repark.
Lotus says that the system has been designed to be upgradable, to include additional features and developments in the future.
This is all a huge change for Lotus. From a small sportscar manufacturer to a brand with global ambitions for its electric cars, it all looks impressive.
Lotus says that the Eletre is now available, but pricing is yet to be confirmed. Deliveries are expected in UK, Europe and China from 2023.