The English sports car producer Lotus, now part of the Chinese Geely automotive group, has completed the construction of its vehicle plant in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
It has just produced the first example of its all-electric Eletre SUV model, the first to be built there. The Wuhan factory is designed for an annual capacity of 150 000 vehicles, far more than the tiny manufacturer has ever produced.
However, Lotus Technology is also currently building its global headquarters in Wuhan. The plant’s capacity is not expected to be exhausted in the coming years.
Earlier, Lotus said it plans to sell 100 000 e-vehicles in 2028 – 90 000 to be sedans and SUVs from the Wuhan plant. The remaining 10 000 vehicles, the electric sports cars, will be built at Lotus’ Hethel plant in the UK.
The Eletre, unveiled in March, is scheduled for delivery in early 2023, and will also be exported to Europe and elsewhere. The 800-Volt electric car is the first of four electric models announced by Lotus for 2026.
The model is the first to be developed based on the Electric Premium Architecture (EPA), a Lotus-led development and an industry-leading 80 V platform. It is available in two variants.
The base variant features a power output of 450 kW/612 hp and 710 Nm. This variant boasts a 0-100 kph acceleration time of 4,5 seconds, while the range stands at a promised 600 kilometers.
The more powerful top-spec variant has a maximum power output of 675 kW/920 hp and a peak torque output of 985 Nm. Acceleration in this variant is, of course, a lot faster, with 0-100 kph in just 2,95 seconds. The range here is down to ± 515 kilometers.
Lotus said the Eletre would have a battery capacity of more than 100 kWh. Last month, Chinese power battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) officially unveiled its highly anticipated CTP (cell-to-pack) 3,0 Qilin battery, which is said to allow vehicles to achieve a range of 1 000 kilometers.
Lotus’ official Weibo account hinted at using the Qilin Battery in the Eletre when it reposted a CATL introduction video, saying, “Lotus is going on a new journey with its good partner.”
The prevehicle, a yellow Eletre, is the first Lotus ever to be built in China. It is not specified exactly whether it is already a customer vehicle or still a pre-production model. Interested buyers can already reserve their Eletre in China with a deposit of 5 000 Yuan (some $750).
In the past decades, the British brand has tried under various owners to expand its model range beyond lightweight sports cars. Under Geely’s leadership, this will be done in the future with electric cars. As already mentioned, from 2028 onward, Lotus will sell only electric cars.