Lotus Eletre: the world’s first electric Hyper-SUV

Lotus Eletre: the world’s first electric Hyper-SUV

Lotus Eletre: the world’s first electric Hyper-SUV

The ongoing transformation of Lotus to a truly global performance car brand has reached its most significant milestone yet.

The all-new and all-electric Lotus Eletre is a striking and progressive Hyper-SUV – the first of a new breed of pure electric SUVs. It takes the core principles and Lotus DNA from more than 70 years of sports car design and engineering, evolving them into a desirable all-new lifestyle car for the next generation of Lotus customers.

The company’s famed expertise in the fields of ride and handling, steering and optimised aerodynamics have been carefully and respectfully evolved. The Eletre takes the heart and soul of the latest Lotus sports car – the Emira – and the revolutionary aero performance of the all-electric Evija hypercar, and reinterprets them as a Hyper-SUV.

Known until two days ago only by its Lotus codename, Type 132, the Eletre is a globally relevant product, a shining halo of sustainable mobility for a worldwide audience. Embodying emotion, intelligence and prestige, it extends the reach of the Lotus name, badge and renowned driver engagement to a new audience.

A bold new dimension to the Lotus performance car portfolio, the Eletre delivers a significant number of firsts for Lotus – the first five-door production car, the first model outside sports car segments, the first lifestyle EV, the most ‘connected’ Lotus ever. And yet it remains a true Lotus, a beautiful car ‘carved by air’, packed with pioneering technology, genuine sporting performance and simplicity of purpose, designed and developed by a passionate and global team. The Lotus Eletre is alive with character and personality.

The Eletre is 4WD, has a battery capacity that’s over 100kWh and with power from 600hp. A 350kW charger will deliver a 400km (248 miles) range in just 20 minutes. The car’s target maximum WLTP driving range is c.600km (c.373 miles). It also comes with the ability as standard to accept 22kW AC charging which, where available, reduces the time plugged in.

Technology includes the most advanced active aerodynamics package on any production SUV, and intelligent driving technologies such as the world’s first deployable Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system in a production car. Add in a dynamic walk-up sequence that delivers a moment of theatre every time the driver approaches the car, and it’s clear the Eletre is making a simple statement – this is Lotus reinvented, the birth of a new icon into the Lotus stable.

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “The Eletre is a bold and revolutionary new car, delivering on our commitment to move Lotus into completely new automotive segments as we widen our global appeal and accessibility. This is a momentous point in our history and a clear signal of our ongoing desire to transform our business. It is a true Lotus, and we’re confident it will delight performance car customers and offer a distinct alternative to the segment’s established players. The Eletre has the soul of a Lotus and the usability of an SUV. Alongside the Emira sports car, this is the perfect two-car garage from Lotus.”

Qingfeng Feng, CEO, Group Lotus, added: “The Eletre, our Hyper-SUV, is a new performance car from an iconic performance car brand and it will appeal to independent-minded and adventurous driving enthusiasts – those who love the thrill of driving. It is a unique combination of beautiful design, exceptional dynamic performance and everyday usability, for those who dare to look beyond the conventional, and marks a turning point for our business and brand.”

He added: “While the worldwide critical acclaim for the Emira has reaffirmed Lotus’ position as a respected sports car marque, the Eletre will make Lotus accessible to a whole new audience. It is a compelling alternative for those who desire a true driver’s car but whose lifestyle demands something more practical than a traditional sports car. And it is only the start for Lotus – there is much more to come.”

The Eletre is the first in a new range of premium lifestyle performance electric vehicles to be built at an all-new state-of-the-art production facility in Wuhan, China. The car has been ‘Born British, Raised Globally’, with design led by the UK, supported by collaborative work with teams in China, Sweden and Germany. The overall exterior and interior design has been led by an international team based at the Lotus Tech Creative Centre (LTCC) in Warwickshire, UK.

Peter Horbury, Senior Vice President, Executive Advisor, Design, Lotus, commented: “The Eletre is a rare creative opportunity in performance car design – the chance to start with a blank sheet of paper and develop an all-new vehicle that takes a brand in a completely fresh direction. There has been a close working relationship and much collaboration between the Lotus design studios in Warwickshire and Hethel. The result is a ‘Hyper-SUV’ that is genuinely different to what’s on the market; the electric powertrain has inspired a ‘cab-forward’ design that echoes the iconic mid-engined layout of Lotus sports cars, creating a unique look and position in the SUV segment. The arrival of the Eletre signals the start of a new era of pure electric SUVs.”

The Eletre is built on Lotus’ all-new and highly versatile Electric Premium Architecture (EPA). The low-to-the-ground design means outstanding handling, and the EPA can easily adapt to accommodate C+ to E+ vehicle class battery sizes, motors, component layouts and intelligent driving technologies.

The platform will be the basis for an all-new range of premium lifestyle performance electric vehicles from Lotus. Led by the Eletre, these cars will catapult Lotus into a new era of higher retail volumes and significant revenues.

The Lotus Eletre is on sale now across global markets, with first customer deliveries in 2023 starting in China, the UK and Europe. For more information and to reserve your Lotus Eletre please visit www.lotuscars.com.  

Lotus restarts Hethel factory tours after £100 million upgrade

Lotus restarts Hethel factory tours after £100 million upgrade

Lotus restarts Hethel factory tours after £100 million upgrade

One of the world’s best-known performance car production facilities – Hethel, the home of Lotus since 1966 – is reopening to the public.

Factory tours of the iconic Norfolk site were paused in November 2017 as the £100 million redevelopment began. With the Emira, the last petrol-powered car from Lotus, now in production in an all-new, state-of-the-art assembly hall, they will restart.

The tour programme has been developed by the experiential team within the recently launched Lotus Advanced Performance division, and will begin on Monday 4 April. The booking platform is live now on www.lotuscars.com.

Simon Lane, Director, Lotus Advanced Performance, commented: “Tours of the Hethel site were part of the Lotus story for many years and hugely popular. We get emails and calls every week with people asking about them but, with all the development work on site, it was not appropriate to have the public here. With the Emira now in production, I’m delighted to announce that the time is right to relaunch the factory tours.”

Guests will arrive and gather in the Retail Centre where refreshments will be available. There they will learn about the ongoing transformation of Lotus, and experience for themselves how all Lotus showrooms will look in the future.

Under the leadership of an expert guide, the story of Lotus at Hethel – past, present and future – will be brought to life. Guests will walk through older sections of the factory where, most recently, the Elise, Exige and Evora were built, before heading into the all-new Emira hall. They will see the new automated elements of the car’s production – a first for Lotus – as well as how much of the process remains ‘hands-on’.

Outside, the walking route will pass the dynamic test areas, including the famous 2.2-mile Hethel test track that has hosted some of the most famous names in the history of motorsport – Jim Clark, Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna and countless others.

The Hethel factory tours will run Monday to Thursday every week, with tour groups consisting of up to eight people. There will be two groups per day with starts at 10am and 2pm, with each tour lasting approximately two hours.

On selected days there is the option to upgrade to a Heritage Tour, which includes a visit to Classic Team Lotus. A separate business situated just across the road from the main Lotus facility, it’s run by Clive Chapman – the son of Lotus founder, Colin Chapman – and includes countless historic Lotus race cars.

Minimum age for guests on all tours is 10 years and all under 18s must be accompanied by an adult, with not more than two children per adult. All elements are fully accessible to wheelchair users, and all guests will receive a specially designed lanyard and pin badge as a memento of their trip to Hethel. No photography will be allowed.

The Lotus Factory Tour is priced £95 per person and the Lotus Factory & Heritage Tour is £140 per person.

Lotus Advanced Performance: new bespoke design and experiential division announced

Lotus Advanced Performance: new bespoke design and experiential division announced

Lotus Advanced Performance: new bespoke design and experiential division announced

Introducing Lotus Advanced Performance, a new division of the business dedicated to delivering thrilling bespoke vehicles and world-class customer experiences.

It is another significant development in the ongoing transformation of Lotus from a UK sports car company to a global performance car business and brand. An enticing new image of a rear wing from Lotus Design hints at an exciting future project.

The portfolio of services that Lotus Advanced Performance will offer includes:

  • Halo projects – ultra-exclusive and unique vehicles that expand the Lotus product portfolio in exciting new directions
  • Limited editions – exclusive high-spec and highly desirable versions of Lotus cars, allowing customers to stand out from the crowd
  • Bespoke – personalise your Lotus car with exclusive colours, trims and materials
  • Experiential – from tours of the new £100m Hethel sports car and hypercar production lines to ‘money can’t buy’ opportunities all around the world, activities to enable customers, fans and partners to experience the Lotus brand
  • Lotus Driving Academy – expert tuition at the wheel of a Lotus at locations around the world, including the iconic Hethel test track in Norfolk
  • Motorsport – starting with the Emira GT4 race car, Lotus Advanced Performance will support and deliver lightweight competition cars to customers around the world
  • Options – exclusive extras for your Lotus
  • Accessories – a broad range of Lotus Advanced Performance products and brand merchandise ‘For The Drivers’

All programmes are being led by Simon Lane, Director, Lotus Advanced Performance, who has joined from the bespoke ‘Q by Aston Martin’ business.

Simon commented: “I have always been a Lotus fan, and this has to be one of the most exciting roles in the automotive industry right now – a blank sheet of paper and the opportunity to launch a completely new division at the world’s most ambitious car brand. The LAP team and I have some fantastic and truly innovative ideas with very broad appeal, for Lotus fans young and old to those in search of unique experiences and collectible opportunities.”

He added: “Working in tandem with the hugely experienced Lotus Design team, and colleagues in our engineering teams around the world, we are going to build the most exciting and exclusive Lotus cars, embracing our exciting electrified future while also honouring our illustrious past.”

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “With high-profile success in leading the delivery of bespoke vehicles and world-class customer experiences, Simon Lane is the perfect person to lead Lotus Advanced Performance. This new division is an exciting addition to our business and another key element of our Vision80 transformation.”

He added: “With the Emira and Evija starting production in the coming months, Lotus Advanced Performance is another significant opportunity to enhance our brand and communicate direct with customers.”

Hazel Chapman (1927-2021)

Hazel Chapman (1927-2021)

Hazel Chapman (1927-2021)

The global Lotus community is saddened to learn that Hazel Chapman, the wife of Colin Chapman and co-founder of Lotus, has died aged 94.

Her contribution to motorsport and the motor industry in the latter half of the 20th century should not be under-estimated. She was a successful racing driver, a shrewd businesswoman and the rock upon which the Lotus foundations – since 1948, when the very first Lotus car was made – were built. Her involvement in the development of the Lotus business was almost without equal at the time, in a world where women so often played second fiddle to their husbands.

Matt Windle, Managing Director, Lotus Cars, commented: “This is a very sad day for everyone around the world associated with Lotus. Without Hazel Chapman there would be no Lotus. The entire Hethel team, and those working at our facilities around the world, send their sincere condolences and best wishes to the Chapman family.”

Hazel Williams was born on the 21 May 1927 in North London. She met Colin Chapman at a dance in 1944 when he was just 16 and she a few months older. As the couple’s relationship developed, Hazel’s parents allowed Colin to build what became the first Lotus – the Mark 1 – in the lock-up garage at the back of their house in Hornsey.

Colin gained a commission into the Royal Air Force, so Hazel continued with the building of the Lotus Mark 1 and then the Mark 2. Competition success in races entered by Hazel and Colin resulted in new commissions for their automotive services. With Hazel’s commercial acumen, their first Lotus business was formed on 1 January 1952. It became a limited company later in the year, funded by payment of £25 from Hazel herself.

Hazel and Colin married in 1954 and as the business grew Hazel took a seat on the board of a number of their companies, including Lotus Cars, Team Lotus and Lotus Components.

She was not only an astute businesswoman but took on a matriarchal role within the organisation, the epitome of the phrase ‘Behind every strong man is a stronger woman’. She prided herself of working with almost every Lotus Formula 1 driver including iconic motorsport names such as Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jochen Rindt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell and Ayrton Senna. She was also a founder of The Dog House women’s motorsport club.

Widowed in 1982, Hazel recognised that Lotus Cars needed new ownership to secure its future and played an instrumental role in its sale. She became a Director of Classic Team Lotus, the Chapman family business which preserves the cars and legacy of the brand’s global racing success.

Hazel maintained a close interest in all things Lotus, for example, she ‘signed off’ the 100,000th Lotus road car in 2018. Tradition dictated that Hazel was always shown the latest Lotus road car prior to it being unveiled to the public. That wonderful custom continued into the modern era, and she viewed the Lotus Evija with her son Clive Chapman two weeks before its debut in July 2019.

From the road to the racetrack: resurgent Lotus motorsport division expands global commitment with Emira GT4 race car

From the road to the racetrack: resurgent Lotus motorsport division expands global commitment with Emira GT4 race car

From the road to the racetrack: resurgent Lotus motorsport division expands global commitment with Emira GT4 race car

Lotus, one of the most famous names in world motorsport, has revealed an all-new competition-spec GT4 challenger and at its core is the critically acclaimed Emira sports car.

The culmination of more than 70 years of innovation on the road and track, it marks the start of an exciting new era in performance GT racing for Lotus.

Developed in collaboration with project partner RML Group, the race-ready concept is yet another milestone in the transformation which is taking place in every area of the Lotus business and brand.

Following the July launch of the Lotus Emira and its dynamic debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed, Lotus and RML Group are committed to writing a successful new chapter in the legendary Lotus motorsport story.

Most recently, that has been via the Evora GT4, which won prestigious races and championships including in British GT, Dubai 24hrs, Barcelona 24hrs, European GT, Sepang 12hrs and the Pirelli World Challenge.

Almost all modern Lotus road cars have had race-ready siblings and the Emira is no exception. Each customer car will be a homologated performance machine, hand-built with lightweight motorsport components and equipment to meet the latest safety regulations.

The Hethel-based development team has focused on precision engineering to deliver outstanding dynamics and high-speed stability. The advanced composite bodywork makes the car exceptionally lightweight and, coupled with Toyota’s race-proven 3.5-litre V6 engine and optimised GT4 aerodynamics derived from the road-going Emira’s advanced exterior design, the Emira GT4 promises to be more than competitive.

Richard Selwin, Race Programme Manager, Lotus, commented:

The all-new Emira GT4 is an exciting next step following the hugely successful launch of the Emira road car. We have worked hard with the team at RML Group to ensure this next-generation of Lotus GT car will deliver race-winning performance.

Simon Holloway, Commercial Director, RML Group, commented:

We are delighted to be collaborating with Lotus on the all-new Emira GT4 Concept. Both companies have a long and successful motorsport pedigree, and to bring that together at such an exciting time for Lotus is a welcome validation of our vision and values.

Gavan Kershaw, today the Director of Vehicle Attributes for Lotus but previously a GT championship-winning driver of Lotus race cars, has been involved in the development of the Emira GT4 from the start. He commented:

The all-new chassis on which the Emira has been developed is the perfect starting point for a high-performance race car. Everyone at Lotus is so excited to be returning to world motorsport and to be doing so with such a competitive race car.

Lotus has been synonymous with racing success ever since the Mark I, a trials car hand-built by founder Colin Chapman in 1948, and the company has pioneered many of the technical innovations which make racing the thrilling sport it is today. The impressive roll-call of honours includes seven Formula 1 Constructors’ titles, six Drivers’ Championships and the Indianapolis 500.

The return to world motorsport is a key pillar of the company’s transformation. Earlier this year Lotus Engineering, the consultancy division of the business, became technical partner to JBXE, the Extreme E race team led by F1 world champion Jenson Button.

The Lotus Emira GT4 will be officially launched later this year at an event on the Hethel test track, the iconic 2.2-mile circuit which has hosted the development of some of the world’s most famous race cars.

Lotus aims to build a limited number of Emira GT4 race cars for the 2022 season, increasing production for 2023 in line with global demand. Interested parties are invited to contact the Lotus motorsport department directly via motorsport@lotuscars.com