After debuting its flagship Eletre SUV earlier this year and preparing the launch of its upcoming all-electric saloon, Lotus is reportedly hard at work developing a third EV, which will go on to rival models like the zero-emissions Porsche Macan and BMW iX3.
According to Autocar, which quotes the British brand’s commercial boss Mike Johnstone, the new model bears the internal codename Type 134 and is set to become the entry point to the firm’s revamped lineup.
With a sub-5 metres (16.4 feet) length, the entry-level Lotus EV will share technology with the bigger Eletre and Type 133 saloon, but will reportedly ride on a different platform intended for smaller models.
Gallery: Lotus Eletre
Additionally, the new Lotus SUV will most likely be equipped with a smaller battery pack than that found on the Eletre, which is rated at 112 kilowatt-hours, as well as less potent electric motors. The range-topping Eletre R, which is a competitor of the Tesla Model X, boasts 905 bhp (675 kilowatts) and 726 pound-feet (985 Newton-metres) of torque, courtesy of its dual-motor, all-wheel drive setup.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but again, it will most probably be lower than the roughly £89,500 price tag of the Eletre SUV, with the Chinese-backed carmaker estimating that the Type 134 will account for half its annual sales by 2028, which would translate into about 75,000 units.
That would be a huge improvement for the Norwich-based automaker which has rarely seen annual sales go above 2,000 units worldwide in the last decade, with just 1,710 cars sold in 2021.
As with its bigger brother, the entry-level electric SUV will benefit from the British maker’s expertise in making aerodynamic and lightweight cars, with Johnstone insisting that the firm’s core philosophy of performance and driving dynamics will be at the core of development.
“A lot of effort has gone into ensuring the future cars that we introduce to the market handle in a way that you would expect a Lotus to handle,” he said for Autocar. “Take Eletre: the attributes team have been involved in its development, people who understand what a Lotus should feel like and drive.
It isn’t just an electrified SUV with a Lotus badge on it: it’s been engineered from the beginning to look, feel and drive like a Lotus.”
The British sports car manufacturer was established by Colin Chapman in 1948 and is probably best known for the internal combustion-engined Elise, Exige, Evora, and Seven, with the latter eventually acting as the base for Caterham's modern models.