Lotus Eletre vs Tesla Model
Kind of inevitable, really. If there is an electric baby in the automotive world, the first thing to compare it to is a Tesla. Which is an incredible compliment to the American company when you think about it. But we happened to be driving along a Norwegian backroad when we came across a brand-new Tesla Model
Full disclosure here: The model you see in the photos is the S, and the Model But fortunately, we’ve tested all the relevant cars, so comparison is inevitable. The first thing to realize is that Tesla is still very competitive despite being launched in 2015. Eight years old is a big deal in terms of a car, and although there have been generous improvements to the car in that time, there is still I really don’t like it very much. The Plaid’s six-seater (the regular long-range dual-motor can be configured with seven) and its triple-motor, more than 1,000 horsepower and 0-62 mph time call into question the Eletre’s world-beating claims. It’s also the most aerodynamic SUV in the world according to Tesla with a CD of 0.24 versus the Lotus’ 0.26.
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It’s still great too. Falcon tailgates simply never get boring, and the space and size make for a great place to store people. The windshield extends up and back long over your forehead, making it appear massive and airy from the driving seat, and the 17-inch touchscreen works well once you get used to it. It’s more pared back than the Lotus inside – which looks very moody – and there’s definitely a bit of a swing towards form more than function, but overall it’s an interesting and exciting place to be. It has to be said, without some of the quality and fit issues we’ve seen in other Teslas.
Photography: Johnny Fleetwood
The Lotus, on the other hand, is busier inside. There are more displays (driver and passenger information and the central touchscreen), more textures and more shapes. Where the Tesla is quiet, the Lotus has a lot going on, but surprisingly it doesn’t feel complicated once you’re sitting in it. The physical controls for some oft-used functions are great, and the materials (many of which are recycled) and quality are excellent. It can be a four- or five-seater and feels less spacious than a Tesla, mostly due to the steep slope of the windshield and lower overall height. So, there’s a bit of personal preference and need here – the Tesla is roomier and cleaner in design, the Lotus feels more intentional and a bit more interesting.
The same applies to the outside. The Tesla looks big next to the Eletre, but it’s really not. The lotus is wider and longer, although lower. Look at the Eletre in profile and remove the strategic black edges and suddenly it’s a bit shabby. But with both cars riding on 22-inch wheels, it’s the Lotus that looks more agile and sporty – the argument being that the S Plaid will be smoother in comparison. But we’re here for the SUVs, and they’re the SUVs we’ll get.
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The problem Eletre has with Tesla is that when you start reviewing the stats, the Model The Greater range from a smaller battery (337 miles vs. 304). In fact, one of the only stats the Lotus wins over is charging power – if you can find a large enough charger, the Eletre will charge at an average rate of 240 kilowatts, adding a range of 195 miles in 20 minutes. The Model But Tesla has access to the Supercharger network, so this isn’t the problem it may seem.
So what does the Eletre offer that the Model Well, that seems pretty easy to figure out. Because the Eletre is more fun to drive in almost all conditions. There is precision in steering, turning, and braking that simply does not exist in a Tesla. The body control, the traction control systems, the feel… the Lotus, on a twisty road, makes the Model
That’s not to say the Tesla isn’t a lot of fun. Over 1,000 horsepower and a similar amount of torque in a car that looks like this is simply delicious. But the Model X Plaid is a hammer and makes every straight line a nail, without the braking performance to inspire confidence. You actually end up either driving it like an old muscle car — getting in slowly and getting out fast — or you’re turning the car’s line and dragging it all the way through the turn.
So this is really about what you need. The Lotus is more driver satisfying and likely quicker on twisty roads, even with a horsepower deficit. The Tesla is more practical, but it subjugates distance through the blunt force shock of peak horsepower and torque rather than finesse — much of which you can’t use if you want to remain friends with your passengers. If you love driving, the Lotus is the perfect choice. If you love laughing with your friends, the Model
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