Lotus breaks new ground in China with digital mirror-equipped Eletre SUV

Max McDee, 24 July 2023

We're all aware of the EV race, with manufacturers sprinting to unveil the latest, most technologically advanced electric vehicles. But Lotus, the veteran automaker with a fresh infusion of Geely cash and vision, has just taken a leap forward. With the introduction of the Eletre Hyper-SUV, fitted with optional digital rearview mirrors, they've got the Chinese auto industry buzzing, and perhaps a bit jealous.

Happy first owners of Lotus Eletre from China Happy first owners of Lotus Eletre from China

On July 21, the first Eletre EVs with these futuristic rearview mirrors rolled off the assembly line at Lotus' plant in Wuhan, Hubei province. In China, with all of its technological advancements and some of the most futuristic-looking EVs in the world, the digital side mirrors were only just approved for use on public roads.

The journey to this historic milestone began with the launch of the Eletre SUV on October 25, 2022. The electric SUV from Lotus comes in two versions in China - Eletre S+ and Eletre R+. With prices starting at RMB 828,000 ($115,200) and RMB 1.028 million ($143,000), it's clear that Lotus isn't targeting the budget-conscious.

Lotus breaks new ground in China with digital mirror-equipped Eletre SUV

Early in January, Lotus let customers in on the option of digital rearview mirrors, and surprisingly, they didn't have to break their piggy banks for this tech upgrade. For an additional RMB 16,000 ($2,200), they could join the digital revolution, bidding adieu to those pesky old-school mirrors. The company promises that these digital mirrors, covered with a water-repellent and heatable glass-like composite, could improve safety by including features like blind spot monitoring and door-opening warnings.

With LCD screens displaying the views from cameras inside the vehicle, drivers can expect a significant increase in their lateral field of view. The images from these digital mirrors are claimed to be so clear, they can transform night into day, and as the cameras are also smaller than traditional mirrors they also improve drag resistance and, in turn, range.

Lotus breaks new ground in China with digital mirror-equipped Eletre SUV

Lotus' daring move comes under the wings of Geely, who acquired a majority stake in the 70-year-old automaker back in 2017. It makes Lotus a trailblazer in the EV industry in Geely's homeland.

The Eletre isn't just a gimmick, though. It's a high-performance, ultra-luxury SUV, a breed of vehicle not commonly seen in China. The Eletre S+ and Eletre R+ variants boast powerful performance, catapulting from 0 to 62 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds and 2.95 seconds, respectively. Powered by a standard battery pack with a capacity of 112 kWh, they promise ranges of 404 miles and 348 miles, depending on the model. On top of that, both vehicles support 800V high-voltage fast charging, meaning they can be charged from 10 percent to 80 percent in a mere 20 minutes.

Lotus breaks new ground in China with digital mirror-equipped Eletre SUV

The Eletre may be first out with the digital mirrors, but all it means is the floodgates have been opened. Chinese regulators took a long time to approve the first vehicle with that solution, but from now on, many aspiring automakers will offer digital mirrors as an option, although hopefully not the only one.


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Reader comments

It does help with aerodynamics and wind noise to some extent, but it is hardly worth the extra hardware equipped, and it does have some downsides as well. But we are missing the point here, it is on the Lotus ... and probably no one buys Lotus beca...

  • Filip

Another attempt to make the product more expensive. Even the replacement seems terribly inappropriate.



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