First Production Detroit SP:01 EV Rolls Off Assembly Line

OCT 30 2015 BY MARK KANE 39

Detroit Electric SP:01 - interior

Detroit Electric SP:01 – interior

Detroit Electric announced on October 29 that the first SP:01 all-electric sports car rolled off the assembly line of its Leamington Spa manufacturing facility in the UK.

The car is based on the Lotus Exige and the company’s intention is to repeat the success of the Tesla Roadster.

The company stated that SP:01 is “the lightest and fastest two-seat pure-electric sports car in the world“.

Detroit Electric SP:01 can do 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 3.9 seconds or 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, provided you use the 6-speed manual transmission. Other choices are 1- or 2- speed automatic transmission.

“The lightweight SP:01, which goes on sale in Asia and Europe over the coming weeks, combines a carbon fibre body with an aluminium chassis. It has a class-leading power to weight ratio and promises blistering acceleration, reaching 60mph from standstill in just 3.7 seconds* (0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds) and sprinting to an impressive top speed of 155mph (249km/h). Featuring a 285HP / 210kW electric motor, the car is fitted with a single-speed automatic transmission as standard, with the option of twin-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmissions.”

Another point of interest is battery with “the most energy-dense automotive battery pack in the world, offering over 140Wh/kg“; we aren’t quite sure about the validity of this quote, as it would have to be much, much more dense than 140 Wh/kg to be a world-beater (like 300 Wh/kg).

If nothing has changed, total capacity is 37 kWh for 288 km of NEDC range (nearly 180 miles).  This would translate to around 135 miles of real world driving on the US EPA rating system.

“The battery in the SP:01 has been integrated into the chassis as a stressed member, adding stiffness to enhance handling and safety. The battery is the most energy-dense automotive battery pack in the world, offering over 140Wh/kg, benefitting range while keeping overall vehicle weight low.

Every Detroit Electric comes with built-in bi-directional charge and discharge capability. Made possible through the patented Detroit Electric home charging and power back-up unit – named ‘360-Powerback’ – the unit turns the vehicle into a power source for both the grid and the home. An advanced Battery Management System (BMS) gathers data about the car’s battery health and on-board telematics communicate it directly to the factory.”

Detroit Electric SP:01

Detroit Electric SP:01

The first unit will soon be delivered to the first customer, although retail prices in Europe and Asia aren’t yet available (to be announced shortly). We are not sure if U.S. sales are still being considered, as the press release is silence about the U.S.

“Detroit Electric has established distributors throughout Europe and Asia extending from the North (Iceland and Norway) and the East (Azerbaijan, South Korea, China and Hong Kong) to the South (South Africa), with additional countries due to join the growing global network over the coming months. “

About the SAMI’ (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment):

“The SP:01 comes equipped with an app-based system called ‘SAMI’ (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment), which utilises Android technology and is fully compatible with Android Auto, providing safe access to a host of apps and internet functionality. SAMI allows users to search for nearby roadside charge points and then pre-book charging time, as well as review billing and credit information relating to their charge-point use.

When away from the SP:01, owners can use SAMI as a remote control unit via GSM, enabling them to locate the vehicle, turn on the climate control system and check the charge status. When in the car, the SAMI-enabled smartphone is installed in the centre console and becomes the interface for a wide range of functions, including music player, satellite navigation, regenerative braking adjustment, interior lighting and vehicle systems status – such as the level of battery charge, range to recharge and other telemetry.”

Albert Lam, Chairman and Group CEO of Detroit Electric, commented:

“We are thrilled to see our first production car roll off the line at our UK manufacturing site. Our first customer is sure to appreciate the unique experience of driving the SP:01 as we’ve worked hard to develop technologies that ensure it is one of the most rewarding pure electric sports cars to drive.

“Seeing our vision realised is hugely satisfying and we can now focus on fulfilling a growing bank of orders. As our production process builds momentum, we look forward to providing this unique electric sports car to our customers all over the world.”

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39 Comments on "First Production Detroit SP:01 EV Rolls Off Assembly Line"

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Less range and same performance compared to the Tesla roadster? If it isn’t cheaper, its a waste of time, and 8 years to late.

The Tesla Roadster isn’t build anymore. Who says that there aren’t people who would buy this car instead, because e.g. they don’t have a Tesla Roadster?

But 6-speed manual transmission? Does that make sense?

And BTW: 1- speed automatic transmission? In my ears it means that the reverse gear isn’t made by switching the polarity at the motor? Otherwise it would be a fixed transmission?


The fact that the Tesla roadster isn’t produced anymore, doesn’t mean this car is worth thinking about. There should be some progress, but the only thing I see is regress. That means that there is a possibility to make it better. And why buy a car, if you know it could be better. Maybe a year from now something a lot better will enter the market. Not just incremental, but Tesla roadster plus progress. I think it isn’t a wise idea, to buy something that you could have had better (and from what I have heard cheaper) 8 years ago…

notting said:

“But 6-speed manual transmission? Does that make sense?”

Seems rather odd to me, too. But it will be interesting to see if either the two-speed or the 6-speed transmission holds up over time. Tesla abandoned their efforts at putting a 2-speed transmission into the Roadster because it couldn’t handle the torque.

“And BTW: 1- speed automatic transmission? In my ears it means that the reverse gear isn’t made by switching the polarity at the motor? Otherwise it would be a fixed transmission?”

Good question. Maybe they put a clutch into it, even though it has only a single speed?

I’m guessing, but these transmission choices are just roughly what you can get with the EXIGE.

A 1 speed automatic is the keyword for no transmission at all, and reverse in an electric is easy.

A 2 speed automatic and a 3 speed manual is all this car should ever need, since the motor has a wider sweet spot than an ICE.

Too bad they don’t offer as much choice on the battery. THE V2G thing I can do without, although the 32 amp charging rate is perfectly fine. Its just that battery wouldn’t allow me to go places I went in my Roadster. But, they can’t sell it here anyway.

One thing everyone seems to be missing is that an EXIGE is a much nicer, larger car than an Elise (Roadster).

Tesla snobbery?

Rather anger. I like the design and the idea to shift manually, and I would buy it, if it had, ether more than 60 kWh, or a price tag below 60k. From what I have heard both things don’t apply. Even the electric Audi R8 seems like a better deal.

Manual shifting is so 20th century!

Common Sense.

Buy a used Tesla Roadster 1.5, get the new LG Chem replacement pack, get ~three times the range and save some cash.

Obviously, there is a market for this EV, regardless of what Tesla produced in the past.

Tesla fans should embrace EVs, not raise their collective noses.

Yea, That’s the long & short of it ….In a nut shell…Good luck to them ,I hope they succeed…That ain’t gonna be an easy sell…

Just want to add that the 288 km were achieved in NEDC, which is a ridiculous cycle. The Roadster has 393 in EPA.

the roadster has 330 miles EPA or so not close to 400!

The Tesla Roadster was given a 245 mile EPA range rating, and that was on an old, obsolete test driving cycle. Going by actual real-world range, it has an average of about 180 miles, with reported ranges varying between 160-200 miles.

is 140Wh/kg really class leading? i’m kinda disapointed.

You would think, companies would do their research before making wild claims, but this happens too often across all industries.

First Tesla’s model S85 has a battery pack weight of 544kg for 85kwh. That’s 156wh/kg.

Audi’s R8 e-tron achieves 154wh/kg for its 92kwh pack.Even Zero motorcycles achieve 147wh/kg for their 2.8kwh 19kg battery modules.

So I don’t see how 140wh/kg is world leading.

Is it me, but why would an electric car need a stick shifter, paddle shifters and tachometer?

Answer… to imitate the ICE version….

Right. A stick shift and a tachometer suggests they’re trying to appeal to traditional gasmobile sports car enthusiasts.

It will be interesting to see if they can make a profit selling these. Personally, I think EVs should embrace their differences from gasmobiles, not try to hide them.

I have a Honda with a CVT transmission that fakes the gear shifts one would feel in an automatic. Seems totally unnecessary (and probably counterproductive), but I can imagine Honda felt they might lose some sales where people who expected that shift feel in a test drive didn’t get it. I have to think the same thing is happening here, but the argument just doesn’t hold water. EV enthusiasts know what to expect and are not going to stay away because it doesn’t feel like an ICE car. And ICE car buyers are not going to bother looking at it anyway.

Smooth, surge-free “gear” changes, to me, add to the perception of quality. Honda’s simulated surge in a CVT is goofy. Why unnecessarily stress components with blasts of torque while exceeding and falling short of optimum economy/power ratios?

Initially I thought I can’t believe they did that, then I thought about the way Honda has acted over the last few years regarding hybrid and plug-in vehicles.

I then realized it’s completely believable.

That’s still not as bad as the BMW fake engine sound effects in the i8…

manuall transmission allows for higher efficiency.

In comparison to what?

Might it be that you just missed the last 10 years of technological development?

Because it’s a sports car, designed to be driven?

I like the manual transmission. But why call it Detroit if not being sold in US? Call it UK electric.

It is not being sold nor made in the USA.

Silly to call it Detroit Electric.

It does seem odd to revive the name of a long-defunct (pre-WW II) American EV maker, for a car that’s apparently not going to be sold in the USA.

Just one of multiple rather odd things about this car.

Just like French Fries are not made in france or by a french chef. Who cares, its a name, they thought would be appealing. Is it mis-leading yes, but as long as no harm no foul, it should not matter.

When this company bought the rights to the name, “Detroit Electric”, they had announced they were going to build updated versions of their ORIGINAL BROUGHAM EVs.

Clearly, that didn’t pan out, and now, they’re making a Tesla-wanna-be Roadster, instead.

Frankly, I’d rather have the purchasing option of the retro Brougham with modern tech for the batteries and drivetrain. Oh well.

You have to wonder how the range would differ with all the transmission variations. Perhaps not that hard to determine if you were on flat ground and just use the gear ratios of each transmissions optimum gear for the driving speed.

Wait . . . this actually got built? I’m surprised.

I’m glad they are making it. Of course, the US won’t benefit since they can’t sell the Lotus Exige here either anymore. Supposedly, this is what killed the Tesla Roadster, not being able to sell the Lotus Elise in the states any longer.

“the most energy-dense automotive battery pack in the world, offering over 140Wh/kg“

So is this complete pack density per kg, including any cooling system, all wiring, battery case, battery protection, etc?

I often find it frustrating to try and compare Wh/kg between different manufacturers, because they very rarely actually say what is included in their math.

If they are actually just counting the cells themselves, 140Wh/kg wouldn’t be that special. But if they are including coolant, an aluminum protective plate, wiring, etc, etc, then they might have something.

Always good, regardless of details, to see another BEV, particularly with ‘sporty’ or ‘eye-catching’ appeal, as that is what seems to affect the ‘consciousness’ best, and the Exige has been a talked-about car for a while.

‘But Mine is Electric..” go Detroi.. errr UK.

Not in the market for a sports car, but love the linear acceleration of my Prius. No shift-shocks. Just smooth constant acceleration and even in Econo mode it tackles the steepest grades in Oregon, no problem, accelerating even on the grade. I’ve had a very different experience in a Honda hybrid, where I began to wonder just how much more the car would slow down before I reached the summit! Like others, I’m wondering why this mfr would choose a manual over a CVT? Is it just the romance of things past?

Charging???? Bit of an oversight as this issue either makes it a practical replacement for an equivalent ICEV or it doesn’t! MW

Are they planning to build a full-sized, all-aluminum sport sedan ten years from now?