Detroit Electric unveils $135,000 battery-powered sports car

Wed Apr 3, 2013 8:35pm EDT
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By Paul Lienert

DETROIT (Reuters) - Detroit Electric, a startup electric-car maker reviving a brand that dates back more than a century, unveiled its first model on Wednesday: a $135,000, battery-powered sports car that is to go into limited production in August.

Founded more than five years ago, Detroit Electric enters a still-nascent market that is struggling to find buyers. One of its would-be rivals, Fisker Automotive, a hybrid-electric sports-car company that hasn't built a car since last summer, has hired a law firm to advise on a possible bankruptcy filing.

With a projected top speed of 155 mph, the Detroit Electric SP:01 is "the world's fastest pure-electric sports car," the company says, adding the two-seater has a range of "just under 190 miles" between charges.

The car will be built in the Detroit area at a dedicated plant with an annual capacity of 2,500, the company said Wednesday at a reception at its new headquarters in Detroit's historic Fisher Building.

Detroit Electric plans to build only 999 SP:01's, which it says will be followed by "a new family of all-electric production cars, including two other high-performance models that will enter production by the end of 2014."

The SP:01 appears to borrow heavily from the British-built Lotus Elise -- no surprise considering a number of Detroit Electric executives previously worked for various affiliates of Lotus Cars.

Versions of the Elise have been used by other low-volume carmakers, notably Tesla Motors, which based its $100,000-plus Roadster electric car on the Lotus chassis.

Detroit Electric said the SP:01 was being introduced "following a five-year development and road-test program."   Continued...

Detroit Electric's two-seat all electric sports car model named SP:01 is shown in this recent photo released to Reuters on April 3, 2013. REUTERS/Detroit Electric/Handout