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World's fastest electric sports car

Last updated on: April 8, 2013 13:05 IST

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Paul Lienert in Detroit


Detroit Electric, a startup electric-car maker reviving a brand that dates back more than a century, unveiled its first model on Wednesday: a $135,000 (approx. Rs 74 lakh), battery-powered sports car that is to go into limited production in August.

Founded more than five years ago, Detroit Electric enters a still-nascent market that is struggling to find buyers.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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One of its would-be rivals, Fisker Automotive, a hybrid-electric sports-car company that hasn't built a car since last summer, has hired a law firm to advise on a possible bankruptcy filing.

With a projected top speed of 155 mph (aprox. 250 kmp), the Detroit Electric SP:01 is "the world's fastest pure-electric sports car," the company says, adding the two-seater has a range of "just under 190 miles (approx. 305 kms)" between charges.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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The car will be built in the Detroit area at a dedicated plant with an annual capacity of 2,500, the company said Wednesday at a reception at its new headquarters in Detroit's historic Fisher Building.

Detroit Electric plans to build only 999 SP:01's, which it says will be followed by "a new family of all-electric production cars, including two other high-performance models that will enter production by the end of 2014."

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Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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The SP:01 appears to borrow heavily from the British-built Lotus Elise - no surprise considering a number of Detroit Electric executives previously worked for various affiliates of Lotus Cars.

Versions of the Elise have been used by other low-volume carmakers, notably Tesla Motors, which based its $100,000-plus Roadster electric car on the Lotus chassis.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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Detroit Electric said the SP:01 was being introduced "following a five-year development and road-test program."

The Detroit Electric brand had been dormant since 1939. Previously, it was used on a series of electric cars built in Detroit from 1907.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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The brand was revived in 2007 as a joint venture between China's Youngman Automotive Group - which tried unsuccessfully to acquire bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab in 2012 - and a small California-based electric-car company called Zap.

The venture hired Lotus Engineering in 2007 to provide contract design and technical services.

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Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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In late 2007, Albert Lam, the chief executive of Lotus Engineering, joined the venture as chairman and was named CEO of Detroit Electric in 2008.


Photographs: Courtesy, Detroit Electric

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