Detroit Electric SP:01 (2014) nears production. The next Tesla? | CAR Magazine

Detroit Electric SP:01 (2014) nears production. The next Tesla?

Published: 19 June 2014 Updated: 26 January 2015

New US based electric car maker, Detroit Electric, has been conducting final testing in Europe of its new SP:01 sports car.
Described by Detriot Electric as the “world’s fastest production electric vehicle”, the rear-wheel-drive two-seat convertible is now nearing production having initially been unveiled in the USA and China last year.

Is the Detroit Electric SP:01 another Lotus Elise spin off?

In a word, yes. Much like the equally electric Tesla Roadster, the SP:01 is built on the aluminium chassis of the Lotus Elise and as such, shares more than a passing resemblance with the Norfolk-built sports car. However, Detroit Electric has worked hard to give the bespoke carbon-fibre bodywork a ‘muscular stance’, while the rear light clusters are supposedly designed to invoke American performance cars of the past.

In place of the Lotus’s internal combustion engine sits a 201bhp 166lb ft electric motor which powers the SP:01 from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 155mph, besting the Tesla’s 125mph top speed.

What about the batteries?

According to Albert Lam, Detroit Electric’s chairman and group CEO, the SP:01 is ‘more than just a sports car, it is a mobile energy unit’. In theory, the sports car’s bi-directional 360 Powerpack can detect a power cut at home and send charge from its batteries into your front room.

When it’s not acting as a personal power station, the SP:01 can be recharged using Detroit Electric’s home charging unit in 4 hours and 20 minutes and once fully charged can provide a range of up to 190 miles.

Also helping to boost the SP:01’s green yet sporty credentials is an F1-style regenerative braking system which recovers kinetic energy to top up the batteries.

Will the SP:01 actually make production?

If pre-orders are anything to go by, the signs look good. Due to be manufactured in Detroit and with a $135,000 (£79,000) price tag, Detroit Electric is promising a three-year, 30,000 mile warranty and a new family of all-electric cars to come.

A full launch is expected in summer 2014. Can Detroit Electric manage to break into the mainstream, as Tesla has done? That’s a tough call, but having recently announced a big numbers deal to co-develop electric vehicles with Chinese car-maker Geeley, the funding is there.