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Detroit Electric Delays Sports Car Pending Factory Deal

 
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2013 Detroit Electric SP:01

The SP:01, Detroit Electric's battery-powered sports car not unlike the Tesla Roadster, is currently on hold, pending the company's purchase of a facility in which to build it. Production was due to start on the Lotus Elise-based electric car this month, but delays in finalizing a manufacturing facility have seen that date pushed back.

Speaking to The Detroit News, Detroit Electric's North American president Don Graunstadt explained that the company has yet to finalize a lease or purchase agreement on the facility in Wayne County, Michigan. The company was expecting to start production this month, with the eventual aim of 2,500 vehicles annually and the creation of more than 100 jobs.

Graunstadt did not elaborate any further on the plans, "as Detroit Electric have entered into negotiations with other parties that have the potential to impact our business strategy and timing"--though more news is expected in the next few weeks. Any further comment until then would be "pure speculation", he told the paper.

Each SP:01 electric sports car is to be based on the Lotus Elise, a car that first debuted in 1996 but whose aluminum structure has proven popular for electric vehicle conversions--not least the well-established Tesla Roadster. Like the Roadster, Detroit Electric's car swaps the Elise's GRP body panels for lightweight carbon fiber, while a 201-horsepower electric motor replaces the usual 1.8-liter Toyota-sourced gasoline engine. Performance is said to be strong--0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds, and thanks to a four-speed manual transmission, a 155 mph top speed.

Detroit Electric expects to sell 999 examples of the $135,000 sports car, before building further sports models and eventually, higher-volume, lower-price electric vehicles.

The company's last announcement revealed it was working with Chinese automaker Geely on the development of electric cars and drive systems for the Chinese market.

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