Thursday, October 30, 2014

Detroit Electric Reveals First Production Image of SP:01

Detroit Electric - Final design of SP01 production vehicle showing new fastback design

Remember Detroit Electric? The startup company, which is resurrecting a brand last seen in 1939, announced plans more than a year ago to build a new electric car by August 2013. The first car — the all-electric SP:01, based on the now-defunct Lotus Exige — debuted in prototype form at the Shanghai auto show in April 2013. Four months later, Detroit Electric pushed back the plans, which involved building the car in the Detroit suburb of Plymouth, Mich., citing ongoing business negotiations.

Related: Detroit Electric SP:01: First Look

The saga continued yesterday, when Detroit Electric released more details and production images of the SP:01's exterior. The automaker plans to sell the car on three continents "starting in 2015." But it won't come from Michigan. Rather, the SP:01 will come from Leamington Spa, England, a city some 85 miles northwest of London. Detroit Electric plans to sell it in North America, Asia and Europe. It calls the SP:01 the "world's fastest production electric sports car," with zero-to-60 mph acceleration of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. (The designation appears to discount the forthcoming Tesla Model S P85D, which is quicker with reportedly the same top speed.)

Visual updates between the SP:01 prototype and production car include a new fastback roofline with a sloping rear window, which replace the prototype's buttressed B-pillars and vertical window. There's also a reshaped lower bumper and fewer creases as well as a new rear wing and lower diffuser — mostly in the name of improved airflow around the car, Detroit Electric says. Up front, the car's hood has reshaped openings to help the cabin's climate control.

The SP:01's Lotus roots aren't surprising, given that former Lotus Engineering Group CEO Albert Lam relaunched Detroit Electric in 2008. It's more similar to Tesla, whose original Roadster had Lotus Elise roots. Like Tesla, Detroit Electric hopes to use the sales of its $135,000 SP:01 to fund a second sports car and, eventually, a mass-market EV, according to The Detroit News. Unlike Tesla, it will reportedly sell the car through a traditional dealership network rather than factory-owned stores. Still, Detroit Electric plans to sell just 999 SP:01s, which begs the question of just how many cars each dealership will get — and just how much the revenue generated can contribute to research and development for future models.

Detroit Electric released one press image of the SP:01's rear. It's unclear whether the front image on the automaker's website is the production car or still the prototype, but it does have the updates described in the press release. Two Detroit Electric spokesmen didn't immediately respond to our query. Check out the photo of the prototype's rear (blue) versus the production car (red) below.

Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 1.01.46 PM

Detroit Electric - Final design of SP01 production vehicle showing new fastback design

Manufacturer images

from KickingTires


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