Why Detroit Electric Should Lose Its Trademarked “Detroit” Name


Detroit Electric Factory In The UK

Detroit Electric Factory Rendering In The UK

Detroit-Technology Badge

Detroit-Technology Badge

Turns out we’re not the only ones out there who think that Detroit Electric should lose “Detroit” in favor of perhaps “Holland,” “UK” or even “Asia.”

Asian-owned Detroit Electric, in choosing a Holland UK site to manufacture its SP:01 electric roadster with an Asian electric motor and battery pack, seems like its stealing the Detroit name when in fact the company has so little tie to the Motor City.

Keith Crain of Crain’s Detroit seems rather unpleased with Detroit Electric’s use of the “Detroit” name.

 “The company’s electric car, which was an English shell with Asian electric motor and batteries, was met with back-patting and handshakes from local dignitaries. Yet there was nothing Detroit about it except the name.”

“At the time, I referred to the project as Grand Theft Auto, and it sure looks like it’s been confirmed as the company is now setting up shop anew in the Netherlands.”

“I never thought that it would really do business in Detroit, so I wish that the U.S. trademark office could wrestle control of the Detroit Electric name from this Asian/European company.”

As a Detroiter, I agree with Crain on this one.  There’s nothing Detroit about Detroit Electric aside from its headquarters in the Fisher Building, which we’re told employs 7 individuals.

I’ll point out though that Crain is incorrect in stating that the “company is now setting up shop anew in the Netherlands.”  That indeed was where Detroit Electric previously planned to produce the SP:01, but that’s now been tossed out in favor of a production facility in Leamington Spa, UK.

Crain argues that someday in the future an electric vehicle maker who actually makes EVs in Detroit will want its name to be tied to the city and that’s fine with him.  But this “Detroit” Electric automakers has no right using the city’s name.  Crain concludes:

“I was a bit outraged at these Detroit Electric folks who came into our city claiming all sorts of activities that obviously never came true. And now, not surprisingly, they skipped town. I have no idea what this community is supposed to do, except lament the theft of what was once a revered brand name.”

“I just hate to see this company get away with Grand Theft Auto.”

Detroit Electric SP:01 Prototype

Detroit Electric SP:01 Prototype

Source: Crain’s Detroit

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14 Comments on "Why Detroit Electric Should Lose Its Trademarked “Detroit” Name"

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“Detroit”, could also just represent the company’s intended competition. A company name does not have to indicate the location of said company.



Well . . . we are talking about Europe here where you can’t call a bubbly wine “Champagne” unless it comes from the Champagne area of France . . . you have to call it ‘Sparkling Wine’ instead.

Is a Detroit Electric made in Europe any different than a BMW made outside Bavaria? (BMW = Bavaria Motor Works)

I was watching TV late one night when a commercial came on for the Olde Brooklyn Latern. I bought one of these battery-powered LED latterns in case of a blackout and for its cool retro styling. When it finally arrived, I was shocked and dismayed to find out it was actually made in China, not Brooklyn.


I also think they should change their name. The “Detroit” in the name gives it an aura of ancient technology, failure, poverty and crime.


If only we had the technology to create a RoboCop to clean up the crime-ridden streets of Detroit. 😉

On a side note, in the RoboCop reboot the cars in the near future are mostly EVs (appearance only). They have aerodynamic wheels, wheel skirts, no door handles, and no grills. But unlike Tesla, no nose cones to replace the grills. In the vision of the future presented in RoboCop, even the Toyotas are EVs! 😀 RoboCop’s wife drives a Toyota Venza EV.



How about coming to Detroit and saying that to someone’s face?

The best part of this was the cool picture of the converted Lotus Evora.

I wish Detroit Electric success. Seeing as my Roadster is as an entry-level Elise, it would be nice to have the more upscale Evora, along with the real Lotus 4-speed gearbox to boot.

My Roadster shares the same complaints as this article: an Asian motor and an English / French body .

Believe it or not, they just opened a BRAND NEW Lotus dealer 3 miles from my house!

(The nearest one previously was 4 hours away).

One wonders why Lotus never attempted doing an EV conversion themselves, since everybody else apparently wants to convert their cars..

A friend of mine, who is 40 now but at 25 converted a chevy s10 to a lead-acid EV, and claiming no particular electrical expertise (he’s a programmer for a local bank), he seems to have more real world smarts that would be valuable in the EV industry.

I bet if Lotus offered him $500,000 to come up with a working ev with a decent sized battery in it, he could do it, just by shoehorning in an inverter, charger, and motor into an existing Lotus.

Anyone who can get 15 years operation out of a homemade EV is definitely someone a major automanufacturer should seriously consider hiring.

Detroit, City and all of eastern USA have need of a genuine EV Tech education program. I am starting one in the Eastern States, California already has one at Rio Hondo College. All of the others are “Introductory Classes” with insufficient Hands-On provided. You can see my point of view in my 9 minute video at:
(LINK) http://youtu.br/T-FVjMRVLss

The owners of the name bought the name. If anyone should be chastised, perhaps the people who sold the name could have been more selective about who they sold it to. Of course, there wasn’t likely a long line of people asking to buy it.

They have a right to the name Detroit Electric because they bought the company named Detroit Electric. No amount of bellyaching is going to change that fact.

On an unrelated topic, I had a California burger at a Florida restaurant this week. I wonder if any Californians are offended?