Detroit Electric Roadster to Cost $135,000; Initial Production Run Set at 2,500 Units; Can You Say Tesla Roadster?

5 years ago by Eric Loveday 4

Detroit Electric Roadster Teaser

Detroit Electric Roadster Teaser

The grand scheme of startup automaker Detroit Electric is slowly starting to emerge.

2008 Lotus Elise

2008 Lotus Elise

Yes, there’s a definite copying of Tesla Motors seen here in Detroit Electric, but one automaker calls Silicon Vally home, while the other is setting up shop in the Motor City.

If you’re aware of how Tesla Motors got the ball rolling, then Detroit Electric will seem a rehash and nothing more.

Headquartered in the Fisher Building in Detroit, Michigan (Wayne County’s largest city), Detroit Electric is seeking a production facility within a stone’s throw of its headquarters.  Though a site has not been finalized, Detroit Electric says it’s only looking in Wayne County for a manufacturing site.  Just a reminder, Tesla’s production facility is just down the road from its headquarter, too.

Detroit Electric hopes to hire 180 of the city’s automotive talent ahead of production in August.

The automaker’s first vehicle, a two-seat electric roadster based off the Lotus Elise/Exige (wow, the similarities continue to grow) will have an estimated price tag of $135,000.  Let’s call it a Tesla Roadster-ish price.

The initial production run will be limited to 2,500 units (hmm…isn’t that figure identical to Tesla’s original target for the Roadster).

Here’s where Detroit Electric breaks from a full-blown copy of the Tesla Roadster: Dow Kokam will be Detroit Electric’s battery supplier and multiple pack sizes are expected to be offered.  Whew, at least there’s one notable difference.

Finally, Detroit Electric did not discuss how it will sell its two-seat electric, but we’d be willing to bet a Tesla store-like setup will be its pursued course of action.

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4 responses to "Detroit Electric Roadster to Cost $135,000; Initial Production Run Set at 2,500 Units; Can You Say Tesla Roadster?"

  1. Future Leaf Driver says:

    At $135,000 (why not $150K) if they’re better than the roadster then they might have a chance otherwise here come another EV that came and went!

    Why not just produce something at $30K that ALOT of buyers can afford!!

  2. Bill Howland says:

    I thought due to air bag troubles the Elise couldn’t be sold in the States any longer. I think the only current Lotus dealers are selling is the Evora. I don’t think Tesla would have discontinued the Roadster quite as fast as they did had they not run out of Elise gliders, so what gives? How is DE going to do something that Tesla couldn’t?

  3. James says:

    Yeah. Please do some research on why Detroit Electric is getting
    Elises when Lotus and Tesla’s reasons for ending their relationship
    was that Elise production was winding down.

    So what gives? Did they change their minds? Did Tesla refuse
    to pay what Lotus was asking for Elise chassis?

  4. Roy_H says:

    The choice of the Elise is definitely confusing for the above reasons. I am sure if there had been enough demand, Tesla would have pursued methods to upgrade airbags to latest standards. I think they found the market quickly saturated and decided it wasn’t worth the effort. The Elise market is very much niche, in that it is very small and most people prefer sports cars with more interior room. Tesla went to considerable effort just to gain a few more inches in the Roadster vs the Elise and the primary complaint was that it was only suitable for small drivers (and passengers). Now take that very limited market, and add a high price making it much smaller still. World wide Elise sales have been about 2500 per year.

    The Tesla Roadster is larger than the Elise, with a highly modified chassis and an all carbon-fiber body. Tesla also designed their own electric motor (nobody has since exceeded their power/weight ratio). Detroit Electric has a high bar to reach if they expect to improve on the Roadster.