Lotus Elise lives again, with an electric powerplant

Lotus Elise lives again, with an electric powerplant

The first production Detroit Electric SP:01 has rolled off the line at the company’s Leamington Spa, UK, manufacturing facility.

The all-electric car is based on the Lotus Elise for styling and was first seen as a prototype at April 2013's Shanghai motor show. Following uncertainties over production plans, the company announced last year that it planned to make the vehicle in the UK. Numbers are expected to be small.

The lightweight SP:01, which goes on sale in Asia and Europe over the coming weeks, combines a carbon fibre body with an aluminium chassis. The company says the electric performance car reaches 60mph from standstill in just 3.7 seconds. Featuring a 285HP / 210kW electric motor, the car is fitted with a single-speed automatic transmission as standard, with the option of twin-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmissions.

Albert Lam, Chairman and Group CEO of Detroit Electric commented: “We are thrilled to see our first production car roll off the line at our UK manufacturing site. Our first customer is sure to appreciate the unique experience of driving the SP:01 as we’ve worked hard to develop technologies that ensure it is one of the most rewarding pure electric sports cars to drive.

“Seeing our vision realised is hugely satisfying and we can now focus on fulfilling a growing bank of orders. As our production process builds momentum, we look forward to providing this unique electric sports car to our customers all over the world,” he added.

The battery in the SP:01 has been integrated into the chassis as a stressed member, adding stiffness to enhance handling and safety, it is claimed. The battery is the most energy-dense automotive battery pack in the world, offering over 140Wh/kg, which it is claimed benefits range while keeping overall vehicle weight low.

Detroit Electric says it has established distributors throughout Europe and Asia extending from the North (Iceland and Norway) and the East (Azerbaijan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong) to the South (South Africa), with “additional countries due to join the growing global network over the coming months”.

Retail prices for the SP:01 in Europe and Asia will be announced shortly, the company said.  

Detroit Electric was revived in 2008 by Albert Lam, former Group CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group and Executive Director of Lotus Cars of England, with a "vision to produce an electric vehicle that seamlessly integrates refined aesthetics, innovative technology and superior handling and performance".
 
All SP:01 cars are manufactured in a new, dedicated Detroit Electric production facility in Leamington Spa, England.
 
In addition to the new assembly plant in the UK, Detroit Electric has also invested in a new European headquarters, located in Houten, Netherlands, where the company has recruited a team to manage the brand’s Sales and Marketing activities including vehicle sales, customer service and marketing in the region.