An electric car company with a rich history is rolling out a racy new EV that will be its first in 74 years.
Detroit Electric, which shipped its last electric car in 1939, will relaunch sales in August with an EV that accelerates from 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds and hits a top speed of 155mph. Company representatives say the $135,000 vehicle will be targeted at buyers who want performance first and electric technology second.
"It's not just an electric car," Alex Michaelides, a Detroit Electric spokesman, told us. "It's a sports car that happens to be electric."
Detroit Electric’s SP:01 will accelerate from 0 to 62mph in 3.7 seconds and hit a top speed of 155mph. (Source: Detroit Electric)
The new product, which the company is calling "the world’s fastest pure-electric production car," is clearly aimed at driving enthusiasts. Unlike most EVs, which typically use a single-speed transmission, the SP:01 drives its rear wheels through a four-speed manual transmission. Drivers don't need to use a clutch pedal to launch or stop the car -- only to change gears as the vehicle accelerates.
"It's really just there to give drivers the option that they normally don’t have with an electric vehicle," Michaelides said. The car goes up to about 30mph in first gear and 60mph in second.
The two-seat SP:01 has been compared to the Tesla Roadster, but Detroit Electric officials say their car's execution is different, and its batteries are smaller. The SP:01 employs two separate air-cooled battery packs -- one behind the passenger cabin and another above the AC synchronous electric motor in the rear. Together, the two packs offer 37kWh of energy, about one-third less than Tesla's Roadster. As such, the SP:01 recharges in approximately 4.3 hours at 240V and 32A.
Despite the battery size, the new vehicle will offer an all-electric range of about 180 miles. That's partly a result of the liberal use of carbon fiber composites for in car's body. The vehicle's curb weight is just 2,400 pounds.
The car's introduction marks a revival of the Detroit Electric name. The company, which built and sold electric cars from 1906 to 1939, sold 1,000 to 2,000 cars per year during its heyday in the 1910s. Notable customers included Thomas Edison, John D. Rockerfeller Jr., and Clara Ford (the wife of Henry Ford). However, the company stopped producing electric cars in 1929, and it sold its last vehicle in 1939.
The Detroit Electric brand was revived in 2008 by Albert Lam, former CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group, with the idea of building an electric car with superior handling and performance characteristics. The revived company is headquartered in Detroit's Fisher Building.
Detroit Electric plans to build just 999 units of the SP:01, with the idea of starting sales in August. A second limited-run sports car will follow in 2014.
This car already costs well over $100K so I wonder why they didn't use a proper dual-clutch gearbox for not much more money...the 0-60 times would probably drop another few tenths also and it would be great to drive clicking off shifts via paddle shifters (ala Porsche Cayman S)...it would also be the first electric to have it also.
It seems like we're in a new age of EVs and hybrids with this and the new one Porsche has unveiled. Bring it on! This goes to show that these cars aren't just for environmentally-conscious Yuppies anymore and are going or a whole new elite audience. http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1366&doc_id=261782
I found this of great interest as the Anderson Carrage was located in Port Huron, Michigan and they then moved to Detroit and became the Detroit Electric. They were powered by the improved batteries that were invented by Thomas Alva Edison who was also from Port Huron MI. and lived a shot distance from the Anderson Carrage Company. I believe a to make any electric vehicle a detachable power source like a APU that could be used as a range extender in necessary. Until fuel cells or other processes become avaialible, range limitations are the downside. I was happy to see a Detroit Electric in the Greenfield Village Parade at The Henry Ford run with the many internal combustion entrants. Just to leave you with a thought. All Railroads in America are powered by electricity.
More $100K+ electric cars ? Just wehre is the mass market for these vehicles? There isn't one, and a 6 figure price sticker and leather seat covers is the only way there can be any return on investment, I would bet that every single buyer of this vehicle keeps an environment - destroying 250hp + gas guzzling SUV in the garage.
Why do we need an overpriced electric car that attempts to mimic the performance of a gas car? What would really do some good is a light, simple affordable electric. It might have a range of 25 to 40 miles and a top speed of perhaps 55 mph. A two-car family would use it to commute to work and make other local trips, while maintaining the gas or hybrid car for longer expeditions. Such an electric could use conventional DC motor with a pulse-width armature control and provision for regenerative braking. Almost any battery would do, maybe even the good old lead-acid type. Let's use gas engines and electric for what each does best.
I'm not sure what (or where) the market is, but if I had an extra wad of cash around I'd consider it. Rob asks: "Can a car company enter the auto market successfully with a single offering?" Well, of course! Haven't you heard of the Delorean? Oh... wait... Never mind. You probably meant can they do it SUCCESSFULLY, huh? Probably not.
But still, it's cute. And great range for a smallish battery pack. The 2400 lb curb weight is what Porsche needs to shoot for in their EV. Maybe there's a buyout on the horizon.
Not sure I understand the need for a gearbox in an electric car, unless you need to "feel" like a combustion engine car... Or is it because they are using very small motors that could not sustain both high accelerations and top speeds ?
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