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Detroit Electric Says This is It: Production SP:01

Over a year late, battery sports car finally set for sale.

by on Jan.07, 2015

Detroit Electric promises to have the first of its delayed SP:01 sports car in showrooms early this year.

Finally. Belatedly. Maybe? More than a year after it was originally set to go into production, start-up carmaker Detroit Electric insists it will actually begin rolling out its battery sports car in the next few months, offering up images of what it insists will be the final production design.

But while the basic look of the Lotus-based 2-seater is largely in line with the prototype first shown at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, one key detail has changed. Despite its name, Detroit Electric plans to assemble the SP:01 not in the Motor City but in the British town of Leamington Spa, a couple hours from the Lotus plant.

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Holding to the original plans, the company says it will produce just 999 of the little sports cars before shifting to more mainstream electric vehicles. And holding out an olive branch to the officials who worked hard to bring the project to Michigan, the company says it may still produce a battery sedan in the Motor City at a later date.

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Detroit Electric Releases “Final” Design of SP:01 Electric Sports Car

Over a year late, the maker promises to launch production before year-end.

by on Oct.27, 2014

An obvious digital rendering shows the revised rear of the Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car's "final design."

Better late than never? That’s apparently the philosophy at Detroit Electric, the ambitious, if struggling, battery-carmaker that has been promising to put the world’s fastest electric sports car into production.

First teased at a splashy Motown event in the spring of 2013 – with a concept vehicle unveiled at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show, Detroit Electric has missed all of its original targets. But despite the legions of skeptics, it has today released an image of what it is billing “the final exterior design” of its pure battery electric sports-car, the SP:01.

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Apparently, quite a bit has changed since Detroit Electric first announced plans to revive a brand name that has been gone since the Great Depression.

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Detroit Electric Abandoning Detroit Production Base for Sports Car

Maker may still turn to Motor City for later models.

by on Mar.31, 2014

CEO Albert Lam with a prototype of the Detroit Electric SP:01 battery sports car. The car will now be built in Holland instead of Detroit.

Call it Not-So-Detroit Electric, apparently. Already a year late in plans to produce a $135,000 limited-edition sports car, the start-up firm says it will turn to Holland to produce its little SP:01 model starting later this year.

But the company still hopes to return to the Motor City when it launches a more mainstream, battery-powered sedan later in the decade.

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Named after a Michigan-based battery-car company that folded during the Great Depression, Detroit Electric was introduced by Hong Kong businessman Albert Lam, a former Apple executive, during a splashy news conference nearly a year ago. At the time, he admitted the project walked a fine line “between sanity and insanity,” and would be a challenge to get into production. (more…)

Detroit Electric Project Again Delayed

Maker still waiting to lock down a manufacturing site.

by on Aug.26, 2013

CEO Albert Lam with a prototype of the Detroit Electric SP:01 battery sports car.

When little battery sports car start-up Detroit Electric promised to have its SP:01 in production by August of this year, more than a few skeptics thought it was too good to be true. They were right.

The maker has yet to lock down a manufacturing site for the Lotus-based two-seater, Detroit Electric officials have confirmed. Meanwhile, they indicate they are in negotiations with potential partners that could “impact our business strategy and timing.”

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How things shake out could become more obvious in the coming weeks, according to Don Graunstadt, the president of Detroit Electric’s North American operations, though he told the Detroit News that the ambitious start-up “remains 100 percent committed to the Detroit area,” where it hopes to produce at least some of the products it is developing.

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Detroit Electric Signs Deal With China’s Geely

US maker will get financial boost – and added know-how.

by on Apr.25, 2013

Detroit Electric will handle the battery drivetrain development for Chery's Emgrand EC7-EV.

Bucking the slower-than-expected start-up of the battery-car market, little Detroit Electric plans to have its first model, a battery two-seater, in production this coming summer – and the Michigan-based start-up now hopes to get a helping hand from Geely, the owner of the Volvo brand, as part of a new joint venture with the ambitious Chinese carmaker.

The two companies have entered into a strategic partnership to co-develop pure electric vehicles and related electric drive systems for the Chinese market. Under the terms of the partnership the first model will go on sale through Geely’s Emgrand brand starting in 2014.

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The partnership with privately-held Geely represents a major coup for fledgling Detroit Electric, which claims it is being courted by automakers from around the world eager to penetrate the Chinese market. China’s bureaucrats, eager to address that nation’s endemic air pollution problems, are putting a premium on the growth of the battery-electric vehicle market.

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Resurrected Detroit Electric Reveals Big Plans for Battery-Car Market

“The realization of a dream.”

by on Apr.04, 2013

CEO Albert Lam pulls the covers off the new Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car.

Detroit has become home to a fourth U.S. automaker, albeit one with modest if promising ambitions to do things quite differently from the familiar Big Three.

Reviving a brand name that last built cars nearly three-quarters of a century ago, a small group of automotive and consumer electronics veterans have resurrected the old Detroit Electric badge and promise to have their first new product, the SP:01 sports car, in production by late this coming summer.

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Made of exotic lightweight materials including bonded aluminum and carbon fiber, officials promise the Detroit Electric SP:01 will be the fastest battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, on the market, launching from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds and topping out at 155 mph. They also promise a range of up to 180 miles per charge.

And while the first offering will carry a steep price, $135,000 before federal and other credits, the start-up maker is promising to follow up with four more mainstream models, including two due next year that will come in at barely a quarter of the SP:01’s price.

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Detroit Electric Teases New Battery Sports Car

Motor City maker also promises several “performance” sedans.

by on Mar.19, 2013

Detroit Electric's first product will be a 2-seat battery sports car.

If you’ve got a sense of automotive history you just might recognize the name Detroit Electric.  It’s Motown factory rolled out about 13,000 of battery cars from 1907 through 1939, one delivering a record 211 miles on a single charge, a figure enviable even today.

While the original company didn’t make it through the Great Depression, the name was brought back in 2008 by Albert Lam, the one-time CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group.  Like a number of other wannabe battery-car companies, the reborn Detroit Electric has had a rough go of it, nearly fading away when a partnership with the other electric vehicle maker Zap collapsed.

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But somehow, the Motor City manufacturer has quietly continued working on its first product line and Detroit Electric plans to reveal a new electric sports car, sending out this teaser image of what it has in store. It also promises to bring several more models to market in the near future.

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Detroit Auto Show Adding “Electric Avenue”

Will feature nearly two dozen battery cars.

by on Nov.12, 2009

A variety of battery vehicles, possibly including the Audi e-Tron, will make an appearance on Electric Avenue, a new feature at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

A variety of battery vehicles, such as Audi's e-Tron, will appear on Electric Avenue, a new feature at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show.

The North American International Auto Show is getting charged up about electric vehicles.  The 2010 event, which opens to the public on January 16th, will feature a special, dedicated display of battery-powered vehicles, dubbed “Electric Avenue.”

“Electrification” has become one of the industry’s latest buzzwords, and battery cars have filled the floors at several recent auto shows, notably including September’s big event in Frankfurt, Germany, where the technology was shown on everything from minicars, like the Volkswagen e-Up, to high-powered sports cars, such as the Audi eTron.

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One recent industry study reported that as many as 40 or more battery-based vehicles – including hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs – will debut in North America over the next three years.

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