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Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car unveiled

Detroit Electric SP:01 sports car unveiled

All-electric SP:01 features four-speed manual gearbox, claimed 155mph top speed

Detroit Electric, revived in 2008 by former CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group Albert Lam, has unveiled its first creation, the all-electric SP:01 sports car.

It’s based on the Lotus Elise platform, like the Tesla Roadster. The big difference is that the SP:01 claims to be the fastest pure electric production car so far. 0-62mph takes just 3.7sec — the same as the Tesla Roadster Sport’s — but its top speed is an impressive 155mph, 30mph more than its closest relative. 

These numbers are courtesy of an air-cooled electric motor that makes 201bhp and 166lb ft of torque, while the transmission is a four-speed manual that helps improve the SP:01’s performance.

The gearbox is the six-speed unit from the Elise, with fifth and sixth gear blocked off. The electric motor’s instant torque means that swift progress will be made in any gear; using the clutch isn’t necessary when stopping or moving off as a result.

Detroit Electric will restore the fifth cog, if a client ticks the correct box in the options list, for those “wishing to explore the vehicle’s impressive top speed”.

Customers will have also the option of a two-speed automatic transmission, “specially developed for electric and hybrid vehicles”. The bespoke body is made out of carbonfibre to help in containing the weight down to 1090kg.

As you would expect, the car’s suspension has been specifically tuned to suit the different weight distribution that the SP:01 has compared to the Elise. The battery pack has a capacity of 37kWh, which gives the SP:01 a range of 190 miles. A full recharge is claimed to be achievable in just over four hours.

Every car will feature a smartphone mounted on the dash, named SAMI (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment system), that will allow the driver to manage the car’s subsystems, such as the navigation, music player, charge status and other vehicle telemetry. 

The SP:01 also has the capability to charge and discharge bi-directionally, through a patented Detroit Electric home charging and power back-up unit, named ‘360 Powerback’. This allows the car’s stored electric energy to power the owner’s home if necessary. 

Detroit Electric says it will make 999 examples of the SP:01 in its new production facility in downtown Detroit. Prices will start at $135,000 when production begins in August, but the US-based manufacturer has yet to say whether the car will go on sale on this side of the Atlantic.  

Every SP:01 will feature a three-year, 30,000-mile warranty, with the option of an extension to five years and 50,000 miles for the battery.

“I am very fortunate to be working with a group of very talented engineers to create something really special,” said Lam.

Michael Karkafiris