Detroit Electric Recharged With 2014 SP:01 | Edmunds

Detroit Electric Recharged With 2014 SP:01

Just the Facts:
  • Detroit Electric will begin sales of its 2014 SP:01 battery-electric sports car this August.
  • Pricing starts at $135,000, not including destination charge and optional equipment.
  • The electric-vehicle start-up says other all-electric models will follow, including two in 2014.

DETROIT — After an absence of more than 70 years, the auto company Detroit Electric has been revived and will begin sales this August of its limited-edition 2014 SP:01 battery-electric sports car, with prices starting at $135,000, not including the destination charge and optional equipment.

The company told Edmunds it is not yet sure how much of a federal tax credit will apply to the car.

The open-top two-seater sits on a Lotus platform with newly designed carbon-fiber bodywork. A Detroit Electric spokeswoman would not specify exactly which Lotus architecture provides the basis for the SP:01. Top speed is claimed to be 155 mph, with a 0-62-mph time of 3.7 seconds, which the company asserts would make the SP:01 the world's fastest battery-electric production vehicle.

Power is supplied by a 201-horsepower AC electric motor situated behind the driver. According to Detroit Electric, the car's two battery packs can be charged in 4.3 hours at 240 volts and 32 amps (or 8 hours at 13 amps) and give it a driving range of about 180 miles. Production of the SP:01 will be limited to 999 units and buyers can choose between a four-speed manual and optional two-speed automatic transmission.

"The SP:01 sports car will allow us to demonstrate to the world our ability to build an exciting and innovative product," said Albert Lam, Detroit Electric chairman and group CEO, in a statement. "This DNA will be translated across to our future range of vehicles and will ensure that all our cars are fun to drive and deliver exceptional performance within their class."

The original Detroit Electric set up shop in the Motor City in 1907 and by the time it closed in 1939 had produced about 13,000 vehicles, more electric cars than any other manufacturer. On Wednesday, the new Detroit Electric debuted the SP:01 at the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit, where the company has signed a long-term lease for offices.

The brand was revived in 2008 by Lam, former group CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group and executive director of Lotus Cars of England. At the time, Detroit Electric said it planned to retrofit electric motors into existing Proton-brand cars from Malaysia and sell them for $24,000-$26,000. But that deal never materialized.

Manufacturing of the reborn product line will take place at the Detroit Electric assembly plant in Wayne County, Michigan. The company says the plant will have an annual capacity of 2,500 vehicles and will create more than 180 manufacturing and other jobs in the area.

Edmunds says: Although the SP:01 is an exciting first step, it will be interesting to see how well the revived Detroit Electric's full product range can compete with electric vehicles from established manufacturers.

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