On October 29, the company announced the very first model had rolled off the production lines at its Leamington Spa, UK manufacturing facility, and if early projections remain on course…there’s only 998 more to go.
Originally planned to be assembled in Detroit, the limited-production SP:01 takes a page from the Tesla Roadster playbook and is based on the Lotus Elise sports car, and rather fittingly, both British factories are less than 150 miles apart.
Outside, the SP:01’s carbon fiber bodywork suggests its knife-edged Elise origins, but underneath lies a powerplant that can give even the hottest Lotus a run for its money.
The Detroit Electric SP:01 leverages 280 horsepower and 206 lb.-ft. of torque from an electric motor and battery pack tucked in the car’s rear.
Fitted to a lightweight aluminum chassis, the SP:01 can allegedly hit zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and dash all the way up to 155 mph. Impressive numbers, no doubt. Interestingly, while the Detroit Electric name may not be familiar to most modern car buyers, the company does have a history stretching back 100 years.
Production of the first Detroit Electric vehicle began in 1907, manufactured by the Anderson Carriage company. As a whole, electric cars were becoming very popular due to their relative ease of use, and by 1912 Detroit Electric had already built 13,000 cars.
However, escalating component prices (such as copper and lead) and the stock market crash inflicted a fatal blow to the company, which would eventually go under in 1939.
The firm’s modern resurrection began in 2008, headed up by former Lotus CEO Albert Lam, and although production is handled in the UK and sales and marketing at a facility in The Netherlands, Detroit Electric’s global headquarters is still based in Detroit’s Fisher Building.
What remains to be seen however is whether the SP:01 will make it to U.S. customers at all. In July, the company announced global distribution of SP:01s had expanded to include Azerbaijan, Iceland, Norway, and South Africa, but the U.S. continues to present a question mark.
Nevertheless, be sure to stay tuned to Detroit Electric in the coming months, as the automaker has said it has two new “high performance” models planned for 2016.