First 2016 Detroit Electric SP:01 Rolls Off Assembly Line | Edmunds

First 2016 Detroit Electric SP:01 Rolls Off Assembly Line


LEAMINGTON SPA, United Kingdom — After a number of delays since it was initially revealed in 2013, the first 2016 Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car has rolled off the assembly line.

Despite the company's name, and its history in the Motor City dating back to 1907, the all-electric SP:01 is being built in the U.K. and will be sold first in Europe and Asia.

Pricing has not been announced.

"Seeing our vision realized is hugely satisfying, and we can now focus on fulfilling a growing bank of orders, said Detroit Electric CEO Albert Lam in a statement. "As our production process builds momentum, we look forward to providing this unique electric sports car to our customers all over the world."

As previously reported by Edmunds, the SP:01 is a two-seat sports model, built on the same platform as the Lotus Elise, with newly designed carbon-fiber bodywork.

According to Detroit Electric, with a 285-horsepower motor the SP:01 is capable of a 0-60 acceleration time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph when equipped with the optional six-speed manual transmission. (A single-speed automatic is standard.)

Those numbers, says Detroit Electric, make the SP:01 the world's fastest battery-electric production vehicle.

The SP:01 comes with a standard home charging system that not only recharges the battery pack but also allows the car to function as a power source for the house when needed. Battery health is monitored automatically with data sent directly back to the factory for analysis.

Also standard is an Android Auto-based system that provides Internet connectivity and access to a variety of smartphone apps. Among other features, the system allows users to search for nearby charging stations, pre-book charging time, control infotainment functions, adjust interior lighting and remotely check battery status.

Detroit Electric was revived in 2008 by Lam, a former executive with Lotus Cars and Apple, with the idea of producing a modern battery-powered vehicle in the city that gave the company its name.

At a kickoff at Detroit's historic Fisher Building in March 2013, Lam introduced the SP:01 and announced that production would begin in Wayne County, Michigan, in August of that year, with the U.S. prices starting at $135,000.

But by August, as noted by Edmunds, Detroit Electric had not finalized an agreement for a U.S. manufacturing facility, and production was put on hold.

In April of 2014 the company's U.S. president, Don Graunstadt, announced that plans for a North American factory had been scrapped, and production was being moved to Europe.

"Production of Detroit Electric vehicles in Europe, along with Detroit, was always part of the plan," Graunstadt said in his 2014 statement. "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."

Graunstadt told Edmunds at the time 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."

But in Lam's latest statement, there was no mention of either a U.S. production facility or word of U.S. availability or pricing. Nor did Detroit Electric respond to requests from Edmunds for more information.

For now, North American consumers interested in a sporty electric or hybrid vehicle may want to check out competitors to the SP:01, such as the Audi R8 E-tronBMW i8, Cadillac ELR and the Tesla Model S.

Edmunds says: As the Detroit Electric saga continues, U.S. shoppers in the market for an electric sports car will need to keep looking.

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