If it doesn’t ring a bell, Tesla’s first vehicle, the Roadster, was an all-electric sports car based on the Lotus Elise. It went out of production in 2012 after Tesla’s contract for gliders with Lotus ended. Now it’s sort of getting a new life with Detroit Electric’s SP:01.
Detroit Electric today has little to do with its predecessor of the same name, which pioneered electric vehicles in 1907. Although the company still has offices in Detroit, the headquarters are now located in the Netherlands, and the cars are being assembled in the U.K., which is convenient considering it’s where Lotus is based.
After a limited production run last year, Detroit Electric says it’s about to have an official debut for the vehicle later this year and the company was in Norway, an important market for electric vehicles, last week to set up a partnership with a local dealership.
For the event, CEO Albert Lam, a former Apple and Lotus executive, tried to distance the company from Tesla. He said “we’re not trying to follow Tesla”, according to local newspaper rb.no.
The SP: 01 went into development at the revived Detroit Electric back in 2008, when Tesla first started deliveries of the Roadster. It is equipped with a 37 kWh battery pack which allows, according to the company, for 179 miles (288 km) of NEDC rated range. We can expect the EPA-rated range to be closer to 140 miles (225 km).
The original Tesla Roadster had ~220 miles (350 km) of range on a single charge and now Tesla is offering a battery pack upgrade for ~340 miles (547 km) of range.
Interestingly, and to make sure we understand that Detroit Electric is not following Tesla’s model, Lam said that after the SP:01, Detroit Electric will release an all-electric luxury sedan in 2019, followed by an electric SUV based on the same platform as the sedan. These new vehicles will not be based on Lotus gliders, but we will be built from the ground up by Detroit Electric, says Lam.
The executive said that the company expects to achieve volume production of 50,000 to 60,000 units per year with its luxury sedan and SUV.