First Detroit Electric SP:01 Built, Sold--But U.S. Won't Get It


Detroit Electric SP:01 assembly

Detroit Electric SP:01 assembly

Enlarge Photo

The first Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car has finally rolled off an assembly line, but it's not headed for anyplace near the company's namesake city.

Despite its name, the Detroit Electric sports car isn't being built in the U.S.--and it won't be sold here either.

Detroit Electric set up a production facility in Leamington Spa in the U.K. earlier this year, and claims to have a global network of dealers in place.

DON'T MISS: Detroit Electric SP:01 Sports Car: Final Design Announced

So far the reconstituted electric carmaker--which uses the name of a company that can trace its roots back to 1907--is concentrating on Europe and Asia, and will sell cars in South Africa as well.

It claims to have established distributors in countries from Iceland and Norway to Azerbaijan, China, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

Detroit Electric previously quoted a base price of around $135,000 for the SP:01, and said production would initially be limited to 999 units.

2015 Detroit Electric SP:01

2015 Detroit Electric SP:01

Enlarge Photo
Like the Tesla Roadster, the SP:01 is based on the Lotus Elise. In fact, several ex-Lotus executives were behind the carmaker's revival.

In place of the gasoline powertrain, there's a 210-kilowatt (285 horsepower) electric motor and--unusually for an electric car--multiple transmission options.

A single-speed automatic is standard, but twin-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions are also available, Detroit Electric says.

ALSO SEE: Detroit Electric Opens Showroom Near Car Assembly Plant In England

With the six-speed manual, it says the SP:01 will do 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and reach a top speed of 155 mph.

There's also a 37-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which is a stressed member of the chassis.

A "360-Powerback" system also allows the car to discharge energy back into the grid, allowing it to serve as an emergency backup power source.

2015 Detroit Electric SP:01

2015 Detroit Electric SP:01

Enlarge Photo
Over a car's life, software gathers data on the battery pack's health and transmits it back to the factory for analysis.

Meanwhile, owners can monitor the battery's state of charge and reserve and pay for sessions at public charging stations using Detroit Electric's Android-based SAMI (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment) system.

MORE: 1917 Detroit Electric Vs 2014 BMW i3: A Century Of Electric Cars

Detroit Electric's revival was first announced in 2008, and the first prototype of the SP:01 was shown in 2013.

It's taken quite some time for the company to begin production of its sole model, and will likely take even longer to tell if Detroit Electric is really here to stay.

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