Detroit Electric launches SP:01: A Tesla rival

Detroit Electric's SP:01 is a pure electric car that boasts a 180-mile range and a high price.

The Detroit Electric SP:01: its lithium polymer batteries give the SP:01 a range of 180 miles (288 km), the company said.
The Detroit Electric SP:01: its lithium polymer batteries give the SP:01 a range of 180 miles (288 km), the company said. Detroit Electric

Little-known -- but storied-brand -- Detroit Electric has launched its electric alternative to the Tesla.

The SP:01 is a limited-edition, two-seat pure-electric sports car, according to the company's announcement today.

With its Lotus Elise-like design, the SP:01 boasts a top speed of 155 mph and goes from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds.

Other marquee features of the SP:01:

  • Electric motor: rear-wheel-drive with a mid-mounted 200 bhp electric motor made in the USA.
  • Body: carbon-fiber body, with a total weight of 1,070 kg (2,359 pounds).
  • Driving range: With a power rating of 37 kWh, the lithium polymer batteries deliver a range of 180 miles (288 km) when tested to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) standard. (Note: the Tesla Model S delivers about 208 miles.)
  • Infotainment: a smartphone application manages the car's infotainment system.
  • Transmission: Four-speed manual transmission.
  • Assembly: Michigan.
  • Price: Starts at $135,000 and will vary according to specification and local taxes. (Note: Tesla Model S starts at about $57,000.)

The SP:01 sports car will "spearhead a diverse family of all-electric production cars," including two other high-performance models that are scheduled to enter production by end of 2014, the company said.

The Detroit Electric brand was founded in 1907 when the electric car industry, strangely enough, was probably more vibrant than it is today.

The brand was resurrected in 2008 by Albert Lam, who was formerly Group chief executive of the Lotus Engineering Group and is now Detroit Electric's chairman and Group CEO.

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