Almost two years ago to the day, China-based Detroit Electric made headlines when it announced that it was developing three new vehicles, including a sports car. Such an endeavor was viewed as an ambitious undertaking for such a small company, but we may have just gained some insight into how Detroit Electric planned to pull it off.
According to a report from Automotive News Europe (subscription required) published last Monday, Detroit Electric was the company behind the failed $24-million purchase of Aston Martin’s previous generation Vanquish, which was set to include the sports car's design drawings and tooling. It remains unclear if Detroit Electric was planning to use the old Aston Martin design for the basis of its promised sports car, but it seems like a distinct possibility.
Detroit Electric’s first modern car, the SP:01, was an electric sports car based on a Lotus chassis, so clearly the company doesn’t have any qualms about using another automaker’s engineering for its own vehicles. It also makes sense that a small firm like Detroit Electric would prefer an off-the-shelf design rather than a costly ground-up development project.
A Vanquish-based sports car also makes sense from a logistical standpoint. Detroit Electric’s UK factory is just a 15-minute drive from Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters, which would have made the 18 months of ongoing consultancy support included in the Vanquish sale particularly useful.
Unfortunately, it appears Detroit Electric’s purchase of the old Vanquish's intellectual property ultimately fell through, as Aston Martin was forced to take a $23 million write-off that likely included the money promised from Detroit Electric. Detroit Electric hasn’t responded to a request for comment, so we may never know what the company really had planned for the old Vanquish.