Detroit Electric may have one of the oldest names in the car business, but it’s having the same problems as any other startup.
The revived maker of electric cars has pushed back production of its SP:01 electric sports car for a second time. Production was supposed to begin this month, but the company has still not secured a facility to build its cars, the Detroit News reports.
This is not the first time Detroit Electric has had trouble securing its chosen facility in Plymouth, Michigan. The company’s North American president, Don Graunstadt, told the Detroit News that the company still hasn’t signed a lease or purchase agreement for the Wayne County plant.
If Detroit Electric can ever occupy the space, it plans to build 2,500 cars a year there and employ 100 workers.
The Detroit Electric name was attached to some of the first electric cars built in the United States. The company went out of business over 70 years ago and was revived this past March to build the Lotus Elise-based SP:01.
That should sound familiar, because Tesla did the same thing with its first car, the Roadster. Performance of the two electric Lotuses should be pretty close, although Detroit Electric says it will offer more options on its version.
Detroit Electric is also working with Geely (owner of Volvo) to develop electric cars for the Chinese market.
While Detroit Electric may have an old name, it’s still facing the same problems that make automotive startups notoriously short-lived. The list of failed independent carmakers (Tucker, DeLorean, Bricklin, Coda, Fisker) is long, while the list of successfully revived carmakers is practically nonexistent.
That doesn’t mean Detroit Electric won’t be able to pull off a Tesla and prevent history from repeating itself. It’s just that the odds are always against new carmakers, even if they have old names.