Detroit Electric

The finalised Detroit Electric SP:01 has finally been unveiled – at least the rear of it – a year after the prototype was unveiled at last year’s Shanghai Motor Show. The Lotus Elise-based electric sports car features a number of aerodynamic improvements since it was last shown, optimised using computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

The most significant of these updates is a complete reworking of the rear, with a sleeker Exige-esque “fastback” design with a large rear windscreen replacing the previous twin flying buttresses. A rear wing and an underbody diffuser has also been added to reduce lift and improve downforce at higher speeds.

There are other enhancements that have been made elsewhere, including the front air intake and bonnet outlet ducts that have been reprofiled to optimise airflow towards the air-conditioning and heating system. The battery packs have also been shrouded in composite cladding, protecting them against punctures as well as forming an integral part of the car’s structure, increasing torsional rigidity.

Specifications of the SP:01 have also been updated – the Pure model retains the use of a 204 hp/280 Nm electric motor, but the performance figures have been revised downwards somewhat, with 0-100 km/h taking 5.6 seconds and the top speed now down to 170 km/h.


The original Detroit Electric SP:01 prototype

Instead, there is now a 286 hp Performance variant that will deliver the 3.9-second 0-100 km/h time and the 250 km/h top speed previously promised, which Detroit Electric claims will make the SP:01 the world’s fastest production electric sports car (Tesla would beg to differ, I would imagine). Both cars feature a claimed range of 288 km on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).

The Detroit Electric SP:01 is slated to go on sale in Asia, Europe and North America beginning early next year, with production set to kick off at a new factory in Leamington Spa, UK later this year.

The resurrection of the Detroit Electric name – first used on a pre-war electric car – was supposed to have happened back in 2009 with the e63 and e46 models, based on the Proton Persona and Gen.2 respectively. Those cars never made it to production, however.

Detroit Electric SP:01 prototype