Detroit Electric CEO Targets Tesla With Michigan Versus California Comment; Discusses Partnership with Major Chinese OEM

5 years ago by Eric Loveday 11

Detroit Electric Sports Car Teaser

Detroit Electric Sports Car Teaser

“In my opinion, there’s been a big myth generated by California electric vehicle companies that California has all the technology.  I disagree 100 percent. There’s more technology, there’s more automotive talent here in Southeast Michigan than all the other states combined.”

Those are the words of Don Graunstadt, CEO Detroit Electric North America operations, who spoke to Michigan’s MLive shortly after yesterday’s unveiling of Detroit Electric’s two-seat roadster.

Tesla Model S and Roadster side by side.

Tesla Model S and Roadster side by side.

To us, Graundstadt’s comments seems squarely aimed at Tesla Motors and, in fact, the approach to be taken by Detroit Electric seems a carbon copy of the path forged by Tesla.

Detroit Electric’s first vehicle, an electric roadster based on the Lotus Elise, will go on sale in limited numbers by the end of August 2013.  Following the roadster, Detroit Electric says a “diverse family” of electric production vehicles will enter production by the end of 2014.

Detroit Electric signed licensing agreements to use Lotus platforms for its first two vehicles.

“We think we have the best electric car out there,” says Graunstadt, in the typical bold Elon Musk fashion.

Also like Tesla, there’s been some delays for Detroit Electric.  The roadster, which was teased only yesterday, was supposed to make its debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show, but as Graunstadt explains, the automaker didn’t want to rush its public unveiling.

And as for that “major partnership with a global carmaker” that Detroit Electric touched upon yesterday, it turns out the partnership deal is with a “larger Chinese OEM.”

Finally, Graunstadt told MLive that Detroit Electric hasn’t even firmed up a deal for an assembly site for its roadster, but says the automaker is “close to finalizing an assembly facility in Wayne County (Michigan).”

With production set to start in August, Detroit Electric seems to be behind schedule, but we’ll give the startup automaker the benefit of the doubt for now.

via MLive

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11 responses to "Detroit Electric CEO Targets Tesla With Michigan Versus California Comment; Discusses Partnership with Major Chinese OEM"

  1. Gelb says:

    They already had California vs Michigan in the World Series… The San Francisco Giants did pretty well…

    1. Jay Cole says:

      …so many bad memories.

      This year will be different! (I hope)

  2. Anderlan says:

    I can only imagine this kind of comment puts a glint of amusement, tinged with the merest excitement, in Elon’s eyes. If any car company could do anything other than eat Tesla’s technological EV dust, it would mean the industry is way further along than he thought. He wins either way.

  3. evnow says:

    How much money do they have ? Unless they have lined up a lot of deep pocket investors (or made Billions selling their startups), this is just tough talk with no bite potential.

    1. kdawg says:

      That’s what I was going to say. I like the fact someone is going to try to compete with Telsa, and I agree w/the engineering statement when it comes to engineering cars & car plants, but without money to back it up, it’s just talk. Hopefully China’s only role is to provide cash.

  4. Open-Mind says:

    Pretty tough talk from a company whose only product so far is a pretty graphic.Maybe it’s their strategy to get some free PR on the car blogs. Seems to be working. 😉

    I just hope they’re for real and not the next Fisker. Tesla will be a hard act to follow.

  5. BlindGuy says:

    I think Koda had a Chinese company as one of their main partners and that did not go over very well with Americans concerned about quality control (safety) and of course not having all manufacturing done here. It is getting more and more difficult to find 100% American made products anymore. I wish our Volt was 100% American made as well. 

  6. james says:

    OK, but what about the published reason why Tesla stopped building the Roadster? Both Tesla and Lotus had explained that Elise chassis were no longer being produced – result = no more Roadsters. Since the Detroit EV is basically an Elise’s what gives?

  7. Bonaire says:

    An electric Lotus Elise roadster? Again?
    Pity that’s been tried and now replaced by actually usable vehicles. I think we have another Fisker on our hands with this new company. Would they like to build in Delaware, maybe?

  8. levi says:

    Copy – Cats almost always never make it !!! Wanna know why ? Because there is no authenticity. There’s something about having an original thought that propels pioneers beyond mediocrity. Also ever noticed what happens when a founder of a company is fired or leaves ? The vision fails & the new ppl brought in only maintain the gains made thus far…..but cannot innovate at all or nearly as the founders.
    My prediction…. these company is just a Tesla spin-off from either past engineers who had worked at Tesla or some executive with the knowledge of this technology…..& who thinks that they can do a better job than Tesla or bootleg some knock-offs like China.
    I will be watching to see what technology they employ……since we know their business strategy is a Tesla photocopy ( rip-off).
    If everything is photocopied then I think they misjudged their customer base. They will fall flat & fail.

  9. levi says:

    Allow me to speculate…..like I said (a former executive or engineers) who think they can rip-off Tesla by selling the technology to a Chinese company before Tesla gets there (end of 2013) and profit….because sales of 1% of 1% of 1% will make Tesla a big success. And Chinese companies are always doing what they do best clone the IP & made money.

    Another more plausible reason for the existence of such a (clone)company is Big Auto. Audi ,BMW , Mb , exotic sports cars etc….are scared of competition & so they fund a rival incognito…trying to kill or slow Tesla became they cannot innovate at the same speed.