Despite being 2 years behind schedule, it looks as if Detroit Electric is getting ready for the release of the SP.01. You can almost forgive the premium-quality, pure electric vehicle manufacturer for their poor timekeeping because it’s been no walk in the park for them to get up to speed again as the company laid dormant for almost 70 years, until their revival in 2008.
DE faced manufacturing problems which first halted their progress, production was due to be handled in the Netherlands, but now the SP.01 will in fact be built in Lemington Spa, England, with the Netherlands facility set to take care of sales and marketing.
5 days ago, Detroit Electric released a teaser video which sure enough makes a great show of emphasizing the company’s pure electric branding with lightning forming parts of the car and eventually revealing the rear end too.
As far as the SP.01’s aesthetics go, it operates using the same aluminium chassis as the Lotus Exige with a carbon fiber body. Unsurprising really, being as the man who sought to revive Detroit Electric was the former CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group and Executive Director of Lotus Cars of England.
As far as power and performance are concerned, the SP.01 features a mid-mounted electric motor that will be capable of producing up to 278 bhp, 77 more horses than were initially expected. 0-62 mph time is 3.9 seconds, with a battery life of 180 miles and a charge time of 4.3 hours.
The SP.01’s biggest problem undoubtedly is its biggest rival, the Tesla Roadster. They even share the same body and therefore look almost identical. The differences come in the performance stats, added features, and, of course, the price. The Roadster comes out on top as far as performance is concerned, with a 0.2 second faster 0-60 time as well as 65 more miles per charge. The SP.01 does look like it’s paddling in the wake of the Tesla. But the SP.01 is true to its roots, introducing a few features that are ahead of their time, and possibly ahead of Tesla too.
Instead of the conventional liquid cooled battery pack, Detroit Electric has created an in-house thermal management system that uses cooled air in order to control the temperature. There are a few big advantages that go hand in hand with this thermal management system, and they are: improved battery life, a big weight loss factor, which in turn makes the car safer in the case of an accident.
Lastly though, the battery pack is constantly monitored by a telemetry-link to the company’s central portal so the health of the battery packs and electric powertrain can continuously by monitored from anywhere around the world. In addition to this, there will be a large integration with a smartphone app that will be available on Android. The app, called SAMI (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment) will control multiple auxiliary functions of the car such as: the music player, satellite navigation, regenerative braking adjustment, battery charge, range to recharge and other features.
As far as competition between the two goes, one might not even give the SP.01 a chance though. It’s starting price of 135,000 is still $25,000 more expensive than the Roadster. Though it may have some state of the art technology on board, it’s still a long way from the average consumer’s electric car that we’re all waiting patiently for.