Production on the Lotus Elise-based Detroit Electric SP:01 will finally start later this year thanks to a new investment.
You'd be forgiven for forgetting all about the Detroit Electric SP:01. Based on the Lotus Elise, the all-electric sports car was first revealed back in 2013 and was meant to start production in 2014. Last we heard, the first production model was exported to China last year, but it seems that there have been huge developments since then. Now, Detroit Electric has received a significant $1.8 billion investment from China's Far East Smarter Energy Group to finally put the all-electric SP:01 into mass production.
As well as funding the development and production of the SP:01, the investment will also enable Detroit Electric to launch a range of electric cars over the next three years. $370 million will be invested into Detroit Electric's European operations over the next four years. Initially, this will fund the volume production of the SP:01 which will start later this year and create 120 new engineering and 100 new manufacturing jobs. The rest of the money will go into expanding Detroit Electric's range, starting with an all-electric SUV which will enter production in late 2018. A third model will then launch in 2020.
By then, the automaker intends to produce 100,000 vehicles annually. "We have been working exceptionally hard over a long period to establish this joint venture and to secure funding for our ambitious new electric vehicle program," said Albert Lam, Chairman and CEO of Detroit Electric. "So I am delighted to be able to announce this new joint venture which represents a significant boost to vehicle manufacturing and the EV industry in Europe and an important new step towards bringing our family of EVs to market." It's a very similar strategy to Tesla. Like the original Tesla Roadster, the SP:01 is based on the Lotus Elise.
The electric sports car will then be followed with models aimed more at the mass market – just as Tesla did with the Model S and X after the Roadster. When it was first announced, the SP:01 was said to be powered by 210 kW electric motor that produces 285 hp mated to a manual gearbox. This should enable the electric sports car to sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and achieve a top speed of 155 mph. Oh, and despite what the name implies, Detroit Electric is based in Leamington Spa, England. We know, it's confusing.