- Detroit Electric told Edmunds it has scrapped plans to build its 2014 Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car in Michigan and instead will manufacture the vehicle in the Netherlands.
- Detroit Electric President Don Graunstadt said "supply-chain logistics" dictated the move to Europe.
- Graunstadt said Detroit Electric will still maintain its Detroit headquarters and plans to manufacture a sedan in Michigan at some point in the future.
DETROIT — Startup automaker Detroit Electric told Edmunds it has scrapped plans to build its 2014 Detroit Electric SP:01 electric sports car in Michigan and instead will manufacture the vehicle in the Netherlands.
Don Graunstadt, president of Detroit Electric in the U.S., said the European assembly facility "is being prepared right now, ready for production to start in the middle of this calendar year. Orders for the first of its vehicles are currently being taken for deliveries for world markets later this year."
He said the company would announce that location "during the next few weeks."
Graunstadt explained: "Production of Detroit Electric vehicles in Europe, along with Detroit, was always part of the plan. Since the company headquarters is located in the city, Detroit was originally the company's preferred location where to actually begin assembly of the SP:01. However, supply-chain logistics have dictated that the assembly operations for the limited production run of that vehicle have currently to be located just in Europe."
As previously reported by Edmunds, Detroit Electric had originally announced that it would begin production of the SP:01 at a Michigan plant in August 2013. But by that time, the company was forced to delay the startup date due to the need for "further development" of the vehicle's aerodynamics, as well as the lack of an agreement on a suitable facility.
Graunstadt told Edmunds that despite the decision to move SP:01 production to Europe, "Detroit Electric is growing its team at the company's headquarters in the city and is still committed to bringing investment and jobs to the Detroit economic area in the near future." He said the company currently has seven employees in the U.S. and is adding staff at the rate of two per month.
According to Graunstadt, Detroit Electric still plans to manufacture vehicles in southeastern Michigan, but rather than the SP:01, the company "has chosen to save its U.S. resources for an upcoming new model — a sedan — to be engineered, developed and assembled in Detroit."
The $135,000 SP:01, an open-topped two-seater built on a Lotus Elise platform, is powered by a 201-horsepower AC electric motor situated behind the driver. According to Detroit Electric, the car's two battery packs give it a driving range of about 180 miles and can be charged in 4.3 hours at 240 volts.
No pricing or specifications have been announced for the future U.S.-built sedan.
Edmunds says: Disappointing news for car shoppers who wanted a Detroit Electric sports car with pure Motor City roots.