Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Detroit Electric revealed its new all-electric sports car, the SP:01. Based on the Lotus Elise and scheduled to go on sale by this August, the Detroit Electric SP:01 will cost at least $135,000.

Detroit Electric is the brainchild of former Lotus Cars executive director Albert Lam. The company has its headquarters in the Fisher Building in Detroit, Michigan, and plans to open a production facility in Michigan's Wayne County later this year. The plant will apparently be able to build 2500 vehicles annually and will create 180 jobs, if all goes according to plan.

The SP:01 uses aluminum construction and carbon-fiber bodywork, keeping weight down to 2354 pounds. A 37-kWh battery pack powers a mid-mounted electric motor with 201 hp and 166 lb-ft of torque. Whereas many electric cars have single-speed transmissions, the Detroit Electric SP:01 has a four-speed manual. The company claims a 0-to-62-mph time of 3.7 seconds, a top speed of 155 mph, and a driving range of 190 miles. Using a dedicated high-speed charger will reportedly top off the battery in just over four hours.

The Detroit Electric SP:01 looks just like a Lotus Elise, albeit with a unique front fascia that includes an electric-blue symbol and larger air intakes, and a different rear with four individual round taillights.The interior of the roadster is a variation of the interior found on the Lotus Elise, with upgraded leather accents, embroidered floor mats, and a choice of either Alcantara or leather sport seats. The leather seats can be optioned in either solid red, beige, tan, or black leather or two-tone black leather with a red, beige, or tan insert. ,The battery pack is exposed beneath a class panel in the rear. A smartphone app, called Smartphone Application Management Interface, controls the infotainment system and allows the driver to check the vehicle's status remotely. A feature called 360 Powerback also lets the car's battery pack power a residential house during a power outage, by routing current back through the home charger.

When the SP:01 goes on sale this August for $135,000 or more, it will come with a three-year/30,000-mile warranty, with the option to add a five-year/50,000-mile warranty for the battery pack. Detroit Electric hopes that sales of this vehicle -- just 999 copies of the sports car will be sold -- will fund development and production of other vehicles. The company says it plans two "high-performance" electric cars for 2014.

That seems like a bold goal for a startup that has yet to begin production of its first car. CEO Lam previously revitalized Detroit Electric in 2008 and announced plans to build an all-electric sedan in cooperation with Chinese and Malaysian companies, but that project never reached fruition. Of course, Detroit Electric isn't the first company to follow this path: Tesla Motors also built an all-electric sports car based on the Lotus Elise, which sold about 2300 units worldwide.

Powertrain options remain the same as previously announced, with a mid-mounted 285–hp electric motor, and a standard manual transmission, with an optional single-speed or two-speed automatic transmission also available. Battery range is expected to be 190 miles, and performance is claimed at 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, with a top speed of 155 mph.

In addition to the exterior and interior changes, Detroit Electric announced Integrated Energy of South Korea as the first appointed importer and distributor of the SP:01 in Asia, with the first Detroit Electric showroom in Seoul, South Korea,scheduled to open in early 2015. The SP:01 is slated for production early this year, with final manufacturing based out of Leamington Spa, U.K. The car should come to the U.S. market at a later date.

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