Detroit Electric Production Plans Delayed…Again
Detroit Electric has been compared to Tesla Motors quite often in the past. An America-based start-up with plans to build a limited run roadster based on a Lotus platform (in this case the SP:01), before continuing on into more mainstream/higher volume EVs.
Unfortunately, the story is starting to diverge, as Detroit Electric has dropped the ball a second time in getting those first 999 SP:01s made. Originally, the $135,000 2 seat supercar was set to go into production this month in Wayne County Michigan.
Then at the beginning of June, Detroit Electric said they were having difficulty securing a portion of a partially occupied site in Plymouth Township, and that issue would push production back to at least September, but it was still going to hold a “job fair” that month for 100 workers to assemble the cars.
At the time, the company also had plans for two other electric cars to go into production in 2014, but that seems in doubt now.
Now comes word that Detroit Electric still has yet to procure a place to even build the car as the company has yet to ink a deal to build the car in Wayne County.
Detroit Electric North America President Don Graunstadt told the Detroit News in an email that the company has yet to finalize a lease or purchase agreement. The paper asked for further comment on the production status of the car, but was met with a fairly unfulfilling reply from the Detroit Electric boss.
“To further elaborate at this juncture is, unfortunately, not possible as Detroit Electric have entered into negotiations with other parties that have the potential to impact our business strategy and timing…Not only are we legally bound to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions, any comment would by the nature of the situation be pure speculation due to the variables involved.”
We would note that Wayne County, the largest county in Michigan, is probably the easiest (read auto-friendly) and most inexpensive place in the United States to acquire a property with the intention to build an automobile.
We imagine that a crisp Hamilton*, along with a promise to hire local workers in the area, would not only get you some land in the county, but enough incentives to keep the taxman away for decades.
Therefore, this delay almost assuredly is caused by one of two things:
- An attitude of “What else will Michigan do for us to get us to start building?”
- Or issues with private funding
Detroit Electric had hoped to make as many as 2,500 electric vehicles in 2014, and up to 40,000 vehicles worldwide by 2017. Now it appears that it may have some trouble breaking the mark of the original Detroit Electric that was founded 106 years ago – they sold about 13,000.
Despite a recent tie-up with Geely automotive that would see a lot of components build in China on future offerings, Mr. Graunstadt did add that Detroit Electric would still remain true to its namesake:
“Detroit Electric remains 100 percent committed to the Detroit area, the State of Michigan and the residents therein.”
As a refresher on the SP:01, Detroit Electric claims a 0-60 time of 3.7 seconds from a US-sourced, rear mounted, air-cooled, asynchronous AC electric motor rated at 150 kW (201 hp) and 166lb-ft of torque. The SP:01 is said to have an a electric range of 180 miles (NEDC) via a 37 kWh lithium battery. The car weighs in at 2,403lbs.
(*-$10 dollar bill)