Lotus is planning to expand beyond the world of lightweight sports cars by launching its first SUV, an electric performance offering known as the Eletre, which we first saw in March.
The market launch isn't scheduled until sometime in 2023, so it's not surprising that Lotus is still testing prototypes, including at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack where this video was taken. It shows the SUV being tested hard, perhaps in preparation for an attempt at a record lap time.
The fastest SUV around the 'Ring is the Porsche Cayenne Turbo GT, which needed just 7:38.93 to complete a lap. The fastest EV is another Porsche, the Taycan Turbo S sedan, which managed a 7:33.35 lap time.
Lotus has yet to divulge full specs on the Eletre but the SUV is expected to be more powerful than both Porsches. What we can confirm is that the entry-level model will come with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive powertrain good for at least 600 hp. Even this entry-level model will deliver 0-60 mph times of less than three seconds and a top speed of 161 mph. However, a three-motor powertrain with more than 900 hp is expected and could potentially set new records at the 'Ring.
The Eletre is based on a modular EV platform called Electric Premium Architecture. Measuring 200.9 inches long, the Eletre is longer than a Range Rover and close in length to some full-size luxury sedans. Lotus hasn't said how much the Eletre weighs, but it's rumored the target curb weight is around 4,400 lb, or close to 1,000 lb lighter than an Audi E-Tron or Tesla Model X. That's with a 100-plus-kwh battery that Lotus estimates will deliver more than 300 miles of range.
Although the Eletre starts sales in 2023, timing for the U.S. hasn't been announced. An arrival for the 2024 model year is expected, however. Production will be handled at a newly constructed plant in Wuhan, China, making this the first Lotus to be built outside of the U.K. Lotus will also build a four-door coupe and a smaller crossover at the Chinese plant, starting in 2023 and 2025, respectively, while production of sports cars will remain at the company's home in Hethel, England.