Detroit Electric SP:01 Finally Production Bound…Again?

6 months ago by Mark Kane 3

Detroit Electric signs joint venture with China’s Far East Smarter Energy Group…can you feel the excitement?

Detroit Electric, best known from its long and winding road from a would-be Detroit based automaker to a Chinese owned/European export, and its attempt to repeat Tesla’s path to success via the Roadster with its own Lotus-based SP:01, has rarely been heard from recently.  Until now.

The company’s latest press release revives hope that Detroit Electric name will back, as China’s Far East Smarter Energy Group has agreed to invest significant new capital into the brand, and will form a joint venture with Detroit Electric.

The deal is said to be worth a total of $1.8 billion in capital (although we tend to look at that number as more hypothetical press release fantasy), but some actual $370 million to be spent over four years to expand European operations.

Detroit Electric SP:01

The goal is to develop and introduce on the market family of electric cars:

  • production of the SP:01 is planned to start later this year, which makes us wonder how to view the company’s previous announcement of the start of production and sales
  • in 2018, an all-new battery electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) will debut
  • by 2020 third model will be introduced

The new agreement will also create more than 200 new jobs in the short term, and more than 400 by 2020.

By 2020, Detroit Electric’s JV to aims to be selling 100,000 EVs annually, which is pretty bold.

“Detroit Electric has signed a joint venture deal with Far East Smarter Energy Group of China, which has helped secure a total investment of $1.8 billion dollars for the development and production of a range of electric vehicles over the next three years.

Wait? Didn’t the company report that the first Detroit Electric SP:01 rolled off the assembly line more than a year ago?

The joint venture will invest US$370m into Detroit Electric’s European operations over the next four years. Initially, this will fund the completion of the final homologation phase of its all-electric SP:01 sports car and the start of volume production at the company’s Leamington Spa facilities in the UK. This will include the creation of 120 new engineering jobs and 100 new manufacturing jobs. Series production of the SP:01 is planned to start later this year.

In parallel to the SP:01 activities in the UK, the new joint venture will establish an all-new design, research and development, testing and production facility. The focus of this new technical and manufacturing centre will be the development of a family of Detroit Electric vehicles for launch in the coming years. First in the pipeline is an all-new battery electric sports utility vehicle (SUV) that will enter production in late 2018. A third model is planned for launch in 2020.

To accommodate assembly lines for those new models, the company plans to expand its existing facilities in Leamington Spa and the workforce will double to over 400 directly employed colleagues, and as many again potentially employed indirectly at local businesses supplying services and support to the site.”

The Far East Smarter Energy Group is a publicly traded company on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Based in Yixing, China, it is primarily engaged in the design, development and manufacture of electrical systems, battery manufacturing and technologies for transportation and energy storage.”

Albert Lam, Chairman and CEO of Detroit Electric said:

“We have been working exceptionally hard over a long period to establish this joint venture and to secure funding for our ambitious new electric vehicle programme. So I am delighted to be able to announce this new joint venture which represents a significant boost to vehicle manufacturing and the EV industry in Europe and an important new step towards bringing our family of EVs to market.”

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3 responses to "Detroit Electric SP:01 Finally Production Bound…Again?"

  1. Geoff T says:

    With the Tesla the gliders were provided by Lotus and the work completed in California. Is it a similar case or will the whole car be effectively a UK production?

    If so it seems very strange to resurrect a distinctly American marque for a British car.

  2. Bill Howland says:

    Ah, on the one hand it is nice to see an electric Lotus (an EXIGE this time), a little larger than last time; but in certain respects this car is somwhat less than the almost decade old Tesla Roadster.

    – Higher priced for the base model.

    – Smaller (37 vs 53 kwh) battery, at least at last report.

    – Vehicle to Grid compatible 32 amp charger. While the 32 amp sizing feels right, I doubt many well healed customers are going to be using their car for emergency power, as the ‘upper crust’ types will already have other arrangements for their mcMansions.

    On the plus side, it comes with the standard Lotus manual transmission – so those who long to shift gears on a real roadster can do so. The transmission will also allow a much higher top speed than 125 mph.

    Too bad they can’t sell it in the US.

  3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Good luck to them, altho judging only by what’s in this article, it seems best to regard their claims with more than a few grains of salt.

    * * * * *

    They really need to rename the company. Calling it “Detroit Electric” when they can’t even sell the car in the U.S., let alone make it here, just invites jokes which are not going to help the company’s reputation.