‘World’s fastest production electric vehicle’, Detroit Electric’s SP:01, shows signs of life

Detroit Electric SP:01 test mule

After flying under the radar for some time, Detroit Electric says its SP:01 electric sports car is nearing production.

Billed as the “world’s fastest production electric vehicle,” the SP:01 is nearing the completion of testing at a European facility.

Detroit Electric says it’s made a few updates since the car was first shown last year, and it plans to announce production and sales plans in the coming weeks.

That sounds encouraging, but Detroit Electric has struggled to put the SP:01 into production. The company missed its original target date, and now plans to build the SP:01 in Holland not, as originally planned, Detroit.

Like the Tesla Roadster, the SP:01 is based on the Lotus Elise. It’s retained much of the British sports car’s styling, but underneath is an all-electric powertrain consisting of an electric motor that produces 200 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque, and a 37-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.

Detroit Electric says the 2,400-pound SP:01 will do 0 to 62 mph in 3.7 seconds, and reach a top speed of 155 mph. That’s 25 mph faster than a Tesla Model S P85, the current electric speed champion.

Whether anyone will get to experience that performance remains an open question. Starting a car company isn’t easy, and actually selling a Dutch-built, British-designed car under the name “Detroit Electric” might add a bit of extra difficulty.

Detroit Electric is actually one of the oldest names in the automotive business. It started in 1907 and built electric cars for several years before going bust. However, such an esoteric name probably won’t have much meaning for buyers today, especially if the cars aren’t built in Detroit.

So while it’s not dead yet, the SP:01’s fate is far from certain.


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