After first revealing a prototype for a new electric sports car called the SP:01 in early 2013, rejuvenated historic car brand Detroit Electric has now revealed the car in production guise. Unfortunately, Detroit Electric, which has continuously pushed back the launch of the SP:01, says it still has some testing to do and won’t have the car ready for sale until 2016.

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Production is set to take place at a site in the U.K., and the first cars should be rolling off the line sometime this year. Confirmed markets include Europe, the U.S. and parts of Asia.

Like the original Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] Roadster, the SP:01 is based on a Lotus chassis (Detroit Electric CEO Albert Lam previously worked at Lotus) and its design even bears a resemblance to some previous Lotus models. Nevertheless, Detroit Electric has been finessing the design over the past couple of years.

The most striking element is the new fastback configuration, which replaces the original SP:01 prototype’s flying buttresses on either side of the rear window.  A large sculptural rear wing and underbody diffuser have also been incorporated to reduce lift and improve handling at higher speeds.

2015 Detroit Electric SP:01

2015 Detroit Electric SP:01

For the interior, which we’re seeing for the first time, Detroit Electric has installed a prominent 8.4-inch touchscreen tablet, which replaces all analogue dials and switches on the fascia. The tablet features an open-source Android-based operating system that provides access to a wide range of functions, including music, HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), satellite navigation and other vehicle systems. The operating system can also be linked with a smartphone for additional mobile services. The rest of the interior features standard sports car themes, such as grippy bucket seats, leather and Alcantara trim, and a manual transmission.

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Power in the SP:01 comes from a single electric motor rated at 285 horsepower, with drive sent to the rear wheels only. Buyers can expect a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds, a top speed of 155 mph and a driving range of approximately 180 miles.

Note, Tesla has just announced some substantial upgrades for its original Roadster. The upgrades include a new battery and more efficient aerodynamics that Tesla says will make it possible to drive the car more than 400 miles on a single charge. The upgrade will be made available soon, so anyone waiting for the SP:01 may be better off picking up a used Roadster and upgrading it.


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