Detroit Electric Sports Car to be Built In U.K.

Detroit Electric will begin construction of its Lotus-based SP:01 electric sports car in the U.K., despite the firm's Michigan-centric name. The company plans to launch the new car in Europe and Asia in the fourth quarter of this year, before putting it on sale in the U.S. in 2015.

Detroit Electric, which revives the name of a decades-old company based in Detroit, initially said it planned to build its new SP:01 in Michigan. However, struggles over a lack of funding and meeting American regulatory requirements delayed the car's introduction, forcing Detroit Electric to rethink that plan. The company decided to use a new factory in the U.K. so it could launch the car in Europe as soon as possible.

"While Detroit was our preferred initial assembly location, the regulatory process for the production and sale of the SP:01 in the U.S. has taken longer than expected," Detroit Electric CEO Albert Lam said in a statement. "We're truly delighted that we're just weeks away from bringing to fruition our plans to introduce Detroit Electric’s first pure electric sports car."

Despite production taking place overseas, Detroit Electric will maintain its global headquarters in the Fisher Building in downtown Detroit, Michigan. The company has also established a European sales and marketing outpost in Houten, Netherlands.

The Detroit Electric SP:01 is based on the Lotus Elise (which is no longer sold in the U.S.) and follows in the footsteps of the Tesla Roadster, which was also an electric version of a Lotus. Detroit Electric says its new sports car will hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and manage a top speed of 155 mph. Last week, Detroit Electric said it was finalizing dynamic testing of the SP:01 at a track in Europe.

After the introduction of the SP:01, Detroit Electric plans to launch two more electric vehicles, a "2+2 supercar" and a sedan. Both are planned for production in Michigan at an as-yet undisclosed location.

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