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THURSDAY, APRIL 11, 2013, 10:46 A.M.

Detroit Electric recharges with first car since 1939

When Detroit Electric first opened shop in 1906, petroleum-powered automobiles were still battling electric cars to become the horse alternative to beat.  Before they shut their doors in 1939, the electric pioneers put close to 13,000 pure-electric vehicles on the road.  This month they’re ready to pick up where they left off after a 74 year hiatus with the reveal of the SP:01 at the Shanghai Motor Show.  Detroit Electric claims their newest model will be the fastest all-electric production car on the market, and they certainly aren’t letting anyone forget about their motor city heritage. 

”We are proud to become the fourth car manufacturer born out of Detroit, and the first to manufacture a pure electric sports car from Michigan,” said Detroit Electric North American CEO Don Graunstadt.  “We are committed to doing our part for this great revival of Detroit through innovation, entrepreneurship and determination – what we like to call ‘Detroit 2.0’.

As if to throw up a flag declaring their allegiance to the city, Detroit Electric is stationed out of the historic Fisher Building in downtown Detroit. 

“Our investors and management team are thankful to the State of Michigan for the help provided in allowing Detroit Electric to carry on the legacy that began in Michigan so many years ago,” Graunstadt said.  

Comparisons of the SP:01 to the Tesla Roadster are hard to avoid as both electric cars are based on Lotus platforms.  But Detroit Electric has the inside track on injecting the SP:01 with the nimble handling and overall balance the Lotus brand is renowned for; along with Graundstadt, the company will be led by former Lotus Engineering and Lotus Group execs Albert Lam and Benjamin Boycott.

“Right now, there isn't enough market for the big boys to go after. We're carving out our own niche, Graundstadt said. “We don't think of ourselves as an electric car company, just a car company. As in, this is a fun car, and by the way it's also electric.”

Detroit Electric boasts the SP:01 will be the fastest all-electric production car on the market with a top speed of 155mph.  It should be able to reach 62mph in 3.7 seconds and have a range of nearly 180 miles.  Full charge is expected to be achieved in 4.3 hours, or 8 hours using an ordinary power outlet. 

Only 999 SP:01’s are planned to be built.  Each will be priced at – brace yourself - $135,000, which comes with a three-year, 30,000 –mile warranty with an optional extension for the battery to five years, 50,000 miles.

As is currently being illustrated by the dissolution of Fisker, merely having a quality product isn’t a guarantee a startup car company will be successful; the devil is in the details.  Autoweek reports that Detroit Electric’s funding is unclear, although Lam said “private investors from Europe, Asia and the United States have been secured,” and that the company has ample money to launch the SP:01.

Additionally, the company is expected to announce a partner at the Shanghai Motor Show, whom Lam described as “credible” with a global reach.

Production of the SP:01 is set for the end of August with deliveries beginning in September.





Motor Authority

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