Electric vehicles are the future of the automobile. Companies like Tesla have massive backing even though they continue to turn “meh” quarterly profits. The idea of a cleaner and more efficient transport system is loved by many. Electric cars are becoming more popular every day, but one thing is still missing from the EV market: a proper sports car. A company by the name of Detroit Electric has aimed its sights on the Tesla Roadster. Detroit Electric wants to fill the EV sports car gap and they plan to build a better, faster, two-seater electric sports car than the Tesla Roadster.
Like the Tesla Roadster, the SP.01 will be based off the Lotus Elise chassis. This chassis is a great starting point because it already has a lightweight aluminum frame. Both the Tesla Roadster and the SP.01 are powered by electric motors (duh) and both have just two seats. They both also demand a pretty high price, but Tesla could revamp the Roadster in the near future with their current technology which will greatly reduce the cost of the Roadster. It should be noted, however, the SP.01 is based on the Lotus Exige and not the Lotus Elise. The founder of Detroit Electric is former Lotus executive, Albert Lam. Detroit Electric says the SP:01 will not be an open-top roadster, but rather a hatchback, allowing the SP:01 to have better aerodynamics, longer range, and a higher top speed.
Production of the SP.01 is set to begin in August 2013 with a goal of 2,500 cars per year. Like with many automotive start-up companies the production date was pushed back. After struggling to find a suitable production facility for a couple of months, Detroit Electric announced the SP.01 would be built-in England. Sales were set to begin in early 2015, but that date was also pushed back. The first production unit was exported to China in February 2016 to be used as a demonstration car. When Detroit Electric was founded in 2008, they said all their cars would be built in Detroit, but now they’ve completely gone off course and decided to produce them in England like we said.
Detroit Electric has greatly changed the SP:01 since it was initially unveiled in 2013, a fastback design with a smooth roofline, and a rear spoiler to improve aerodynamics, and a better heating-cooling system. The SP.01’s 37 kWh battery pack sits in a composite casing, which is a stressed member of the chassis, improving the chassis stiffness, but also protects the batteries in case of a collision.
Detroit Electric claims that the SP.01 will be the world’s second fastest production electric sports car, faster than the Telsa Roadster and the Telsa Model S, but not the Model S P85D. The SP.01 weighs in at 2,590 lbs and will have a 278 horsepower and 207 ft-lbs of torque, mid-mounted electric motor. They have rated the top speed at 155 mph, and 0-60 mph in an impressive 3.7 seconds. The SP.01 has a claimed driving range of 179 miles.
Unfortunately starting up a car company is extremely difficult. Even with all the backing that Tesla has received they nearly failed at one point. Unfortunately, we expect the SP.01 to fail due to Detroit Electric’s high starting price and lack of infrastructure. If they were to partner with Tesla to use their infrastructure this could be a different story, but we don’t expect that to happen as Tesla is planning on bringing back the Roadster.