Detroit Electric unveil a pure Electric British-built sports car

2015-02-20 15:34:59

This is the SP:01 sports car, the final production model unveiled by US electric car maker, Detroit Electric. The Detroit Electric SP:01 will go on sale later this year and is based on a Lotus Elise chassis that has been wrapped in carbon-fibre bodywork.

Power comes from a 281bhp electric motor that is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. In a highly unusual move, the SP:01 comes fitted with a manual, rather than an auto ‘box. A single or dual-speed auto is also available for an extra cost.

Thanks to 207lb ft of torque on tap coupled to vast reserves of torque from the electric motor, Detroit Electric says that the 0-62mph sprint will be able to be completed in just 3.9 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 155mph – a blistering performance for a pure electric car. More important for an electric car, the range will be in the region of 179 miles, which for this type of car, should prove ample. A full recharge can take up to eight hours.

The underpinnings of the Elise should help ensure that excellent handling should be considered a ‘given’. The SP:01 shares a resemblance with the Elise, too – especially around the leading edge of the rear wheel arches.

Detroit Electric have made some small cosmetic changes to the production version of the SP:01 compared to the concept that was previewed at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show. Most of those changes have been made to boost the SP:01’s aerodynamic performance. The rear end has been completely redesigned, with a fastback roofline replacing the prototype’s flying buttresses either side of the rear windscreen. A rear wing and diffuser has been added to reduce lift and improve handling at higher speeds. For those who wish to give the impression that they are even more hard core than the SP:01 would suggest, it can be ordered with optional carbon-fibre rear spoiler and diffuser, as well as battery cover.

A large 8.4-inch tablet-like touchscreen infotainment system with an Android operating system controls most of the car’s functions, in the same way as it does on a Tesla Model S – a car that has been an inspiration to the SP:01. Detroit Electric have even gone to the trouble of creating its own smartphone integration system. An open source development system means that anyone can design an app for it.

Despite is US-origins, the Detroit Electric SP:01 will be built in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. In terms of price, it will cost £100,500 – about the same as Tesla will be asking for its next-gen roadster.

The SP:01 is the first model to emerge from the brand following the company’s revival in 2008. The company’s vision is to become the world’s fastest two-seat electric sports car. The Detroit Electric SP:01 will go on sale in Europe, Asia and North America later this year.

This article was prepared by our car news team First4Auto

Reported By

Andrew Merritt-Morling

Chief Editor