Detroit Electric To Begin Production Of Its Electric Sports Car

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Originally published on Gas2.

detroit electric sports car electric

Despite significant hurdles and a move from Detroit to Holland late last year, it looks like the Detroit Electric company is finally set to begin production of its SP:01 electric sports car. Before we go any further, however, I’d like to point out that we fully realize that it was April Fools’ Day this week.

That said, it looks like this news is really real. Reports indicate that the (now Holland-based) company is on schedule to have the Lotus Elise-based sportster reaching customers by the end of this year — along with a “concept” all-electric sedan that’s expected to debut at some upcoming auto show.

Like the Tesla Roadster that preceded it, the Detroit Electric SP:01 is based heavily off the current Lotus Elise. In SP:01 guise, the car features (actually good-looking) carbon fiber bodywork from Detroit Electric, while the fully independent front and rear suspension system (minus the shocks and springs, which are tuned for the heavier EV) and front anti-roll bar are both carryovers. Two 37-kWh lithium-polymer batteries and an AC electric motor which combine to pump out 201hp and 166lb-ft of torque — good enough to catapult the SP:01 from 0-60 MPH in under 4 seconds.

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10 thoughts on “Detroit Electric To Begin Production Of Its Electric Sports Car

  • Is the torque figure correct? That’s awfully low for an electric vehicle.

  • The effort going into sexy electric sports cars is disproportionate and rather sad. It was a brilliant move by Tesla to go there first, as it changed the whole public perception of evs from hippie toys to Real Cars. But it now has too many followers chasing a niche market. Compare the paucity of companies developing unglamorous but more important electric buses, vans and taxis.

    • However if the top end becomes dominated by electrics that will have a lot of effect on the lower market.

      Get the car magazines gushing over the latest, fastest electric and all the car aficionados will want one of their own.

      Right now the top niche is reachable, they aren’t necessarily value shoppers and will pay extra for batteries. Once battery price comes down (hopefully with Tesla’s $30k EV) we’re going to see exotic car sales get swamped by all the people bypassing Toyota’s Camry and Honda’s Accord and waiting on line for Tesla’s overloaded web site to take their order.

    • They first planned to market a family sedan à la Coda. But they saw Coda try and fail. Their sedan was as bland and uninspiring as the Coda, and most likely would have failed in the same manner. They were smart enough to change plans and copy Tesla’s ‘secret’ recipe. I don’t blame them for that. If you want to change the world, the most important goal should be to succeed.

      And the Tesla Roadster is not being built anymore, leaving a void in that market segment. If they want to jump in to take advantage of it, they have my blessings. There will always be toys for the rich.

    • A lot of really awesome technology gets rolled out to niche markets first. They can charge more, and they have less risk if something goes wrong. It’s a lot easier to replace a defective piece on 1000 cars, than on hundreds of thousands.

      This is really the only way for a new auto maker to break in on the market. It costs to much to try and launch a compelling Civic or Corolla competitor. They have super high development costs, and low margins.

      • Econoboxes have extremely high development costs or all cars have high development costs?

        • Both.

          If you want to develop a car that you can produce for $20k, you can no longer afford to do anything by hand like a high end luxury car. Each piece now has to be cost optimized to an incredible degree. Ironically, this costs a lot of money.

          The net result is that you have to be a big player to be able to afford to build a good car cheap enough to compete in the econobox segment and still be good enough quality that the market wants to buy it.

          For reference the Chevrolet Cruze platform cost them $4 billion. That’s an incredible amount of money. That’s more than 5 times the entire engineering budget to develop the entirely new Voltec solution at $750 million (which granted, sits on the Cruze platform as well).

          If you are going to invest 4 billion in engineering a small car, it had better sell lots! The little guys can’t take that kind of a risk. They’re better off offering the handstiched, hand welded, assembled by hand super car, that they can charge $100k for, get their feet wet, make some money, learn some things, and move on from there.

    • And their urban bias makes electric even more relevant. My choice would be the commercial derivative of the Leaf with windows.

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