With the introduction of the Emira sports car earlier this year, Lotus is officially done with launching new models powered by internal combustion engines. Yes, every single new vehicle the Geely-owned British marque will introduce going forward will come exclusively with an electric powertrain. Leading the way will be a zero-emissions SUV that is currently known only by its internal codename – Type 132.
A new episode of the teaser campaign hints the first-ever sports utility vehicle from the Norfolk-based brand will have a highly advanced semi-autonomous driving system. What may look like the return of pop-up headlights is actually something completely different, an electrically deployable LIDAR. Those five letters stand for Light Detection and Ranging, serving as the proverbial “eyes” of the high-riding Lotus.
Mounted at the front of the Type 132, the LIDAR will help the car automatically detect obstacles, therefore safely navigate through traffic without any driver input. That said, the electric SUV won’t be a fully driverless car since the autonomous system will meet level 3 requirements in a best-case scenario. Vehicles with level 3 capabilities can make informed decisions on their own, like overtaking a slow-moving vehicle, but human override is still necessary. Consequently, the person behind the wheel still has to pay attention to what’s going on in front and take control in case something is about to go wrong.
From the previous teaser released last week, Lotus gave us a glimpse of the Type 132’s active aerodynamics with flaps that remain closed for improved airflow and only open when additional cooling is necessary. The zero-emissions SUV will ride on a bespoke EV platform known as the Premium Architecture tailored to what Lotus refers to as “premium lifestyle” models with a wheelbase between 2,889 to 3,100 millimeters (113.7 to 122 inches).
It is believed the sports utility vehicle will be approximately as large as the Porsche Cayenne, but thanks to its dedicated electric architecture, it should have more room inside the cabin. The underpinnings will support batteries varying in capacity from 92 to 120 kWh, and rumors say the SUV will have anywhere between 600 to 750 horsepower with dual motors and all-wheel drive.
Expect the 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) sprint to take less than three seconds for an electric SUV that has been in development for the last five years or so. The teaser campaign indicates the world premiere is inching closer, with the market launch already confirmed to take place at some point in 2022. The Type 132 will be followed in the years to come by a four-door coupe, a smaller crossover, and a sports car – all as EV-only models.