It’s been a while since we heard a peep out of startup electric car company Detroit Electric. Things were looking promising when Detroit Electric, which named itself after the decades-old (and long defunct) electric car company, debuted its Elise-based SP:01 EV sports car in April 2013. Now, Detroit Electric says it's finishing testing of the all-electric sports car, which vehicle details and sales plans soon to follow sometime next week.
Detroit Electric initially planned to sell its Lotus Elise-based SP:01 EV sports car in August 2013, with two additional high-performance electric vehicles planned for 2014. So far, nothing. “It was an issue with funding,” a company spokesperson told Automobile, “but everything is back on track now.” The company says it is finalizing “dynamic testing” of the sports car in Europe before it premieres in various international markets. Since its debut, the SP:01 has supposedly undergone “additional development work,” according to a company statement.
The Detroit Electric SP:01, like its Lotus Elise foundation, is a real featherweight; the prototype we saw in Shanghai and Detroit was said to tip the scales at just 2354 pounds, over 100 pounds lighter than the spry 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C. If the production version is like the prototype, we’ll get aluminum and carbon-fiber construction around a mid-mounted, 201-hp electric motor with 166 lb-ft of torque. A 37-kWh battery pack supplies the juice.
Like a proper rear-wheel-drive roadster, the Detroit Electric SP:01 prototype uses a manual transmission, albeit with just four speeds, and boasts a seriously competitive 3.7-second 0-to-60-mph sprint. Top speed is 155 mph, and driving range on a single charge is estimated at 190 miles.
We’ll see if Detroit Electric can avoid reneging on too many of its ambitious goals, but the original plan was to build 999 units of the SP:01 EV sports car for at least $135,000. Even though the Tesla Roadster was also based on the Lotus Elise, we’re yet to see a truly successful sports car that runs on full-electric power.