Plans by Detroit Electric to put a zero emission car into production appear to have stalled.
The Detroit News reported that the revived automaker has not yet finalised an agreement for a manufacturing facility in Wayne County, Michigan, even though it previously said it would be building the SP:01 electric sports car by now.
The company had hoped to begin manufacturing vehicle at a plant in Plymouth by this month with an annual production capacity of about 2,500, and employing more than 100 workers.
The company’s North American president Don Graunstadt told the newspaper that the future of the automaker should become more clear in the next few weeks.
He said in an email: “To further elaborate at this juncture is, unfortunately, not possible as Detroit Electric have entered into negotiations with other parties that have the potential to impact our business strategy and timing.
“Not only are we legally bound to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions, any comment would by the nature of the situation be pure speculation due to the variables involved.”
The Detroit Electric name was revived after seven decades by a group of ex-Lotus Engineering Group executives, and is backed by private investment. The US$135,000 SP:01 sports car is built on the same platform as the Lotus Elise. The company said it would use revenue from that to build a second sports car, and later produce higher volume, less expensive electric cars.
At launch, the company said that it would not accept government assistance, unlike other electric-car automakers Tesla and Fisker. Detroit Electric recently teamed with China's Geely to develop EVs, motors and drivetrains for the Chinese market.
Under terms of that partnership, the first models — based on Geely’s Emgrand EC7 - are to go on sale from next year. The partnership includes a joint venture company that will manufacture electric powertrain components and parts in China.