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Detroit Electric’s SP:01 kisses its buttresses goodbye with new fastback final design

Detroit Electric, the Michigan-based would-be rival to Tesla Motors, has officially revealed the final design of its premier vehicle, the SP:01 electric roa… err, two-seater sports car.


If the final design of the SP:01 looks familiar, there are a couple good reasons for that. First off, the production model doesn’t differ a whole lot from the prototype vehicle revealed at the Shanghai Motor Show two years ago. Since then, minor changes have been made, most predominantly in the rear, where the car has shed the Lotus-styled “flying buttresses” in favor of a more fastback configuration. An added spoiler and under-body diffuser round out the changes.

The other reason this vehicle looks familiar is that the electric sports car is based off of the Lotus Elise’s platform. The British roadster is recognizable in its own right, but particularly noteworthy here as it’s the same vehicle that Tesla based its Roadster on.


That’s not to say Detroit Electric is simply trying to directly copy the Tesla path to victory, however. DE’s CEO is Albert Lam, the former head of the Lotus Engineering Group and Executive Director of Lotus Cars of England, so there’s more of an established link to the sporty two-seater.

Related: Tesla’s Roadster rides again! New upgrades give the existing model a 400-mile range

Detroit Electric is dead set on making the SP:01 the fastest production all electric sports car ever. The two-seater is powered by 210kW (286 horsepower) electric motor that delivers power to the rear wheels via a manual transmission, although details regarding the manual are scarce. DE estimates that the car will be able to run a 0 to 60 time of 3.7 seconds and state that the car’s top speed is limited to 155 mph. Its range will be roughly 179 miles.

The SP:01 goes on sale in Asia, Europe and North America sometime this year, but that’s as narrow a time period as we’ll get.