SUVs are not often called beautiful. Tough, tough, maybe even stylish. Marketing departments like to pimp SUV launches with adjectives that tap into our original instincts to drag stuff or ram through forest roads, but the quintessential Range Rover, Toyota RAV4 or Volvo has long left its utilitarian roots. Appearance, as opposed to actual capabilities, is becoming increasingly important in SUVs. Looks are also entirely subjective, but we’ll go ahead and say it: inside and out, the Eletre is a beautiful SUV.
SUVs are all new to Lotus. Even long after Bentley and Porsche ditched tradition and released their first SUVs of their own, Lotus remained a sports car company. With SUVs becoming the dominant passenger car type, it may have been inevitable that Lotus would eventually throw in its hat. Unsurprisingly, Lotus brought many of its old sports car tricks into the design and production of the Eletre.
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Photo: Lotus Cars
Cheer me up
Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars, had a saying that sums up the entire 74-year history of Lotus: “Simplify, then add lightness.” The essence of the perfect sports car was shared with that of the perfect racing car – and Lotus was first and foremost a race car manufacturer.
Since large packs of batteries make EVs heavier than internal combustion vehicles, the Eletre plays a few tricks to get as much weight out of the 201-inch-long SUV. By comparison, it’s about the size of a Ford Explorer and a foot longer than the Ford Mustang Mach-E, another performance-oriented, all-electric SUV.
Lotus says the Eletre makes “extensive” use of carbon fiber and aluminum to keep its (undisclosed) weight down. The exterior body panels are aluminum and all black exterior trim such as the wheel arches, rear spoiler and side mirrors are carbon fiber. Hard interior parts are also made of carbon fiber, and the seats are wrapped in a wool-blend fabric that, according to Lotus, is 50 percent lighter than typical leather seats.
You can also see the pull-down tendency in the front center console, echoing the interior of the Eletre’s sister Lotus EV, the much-delayed Evija hypercar, where an open passageway between the left and right legrooms also reduces weight.
This post Lotus’ all-electric Eletre SUV has a grill that ‘breathes’
was original published at “https://www.wired.com/story/lotus-eletre-debut”