BBC Autos


Detroit Electric, jolted back from the dead

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.



As promised, the reborn Detroit Electric unveiled its first offering this week.

The SP:01 is a two-seat sports car that, despite its diminutive size, makes an impressive claim:  world’s fastest purely electric vehicle. The Lotus-derived, targa-topped sportster will, says the company, blast to 62mph in 3.7 seconds and press on to a 155mph top speed.

The SP:01 features carbon-fibre composite body work over a stiff, bonded aluminium platform. The car’s mid-mounted electric motor, powered by a pair of lithium polymer battery packs, produces a healthy 201 horsepower. The rear wheels are driven through a four-speed manual transmission – a unique feature for a battery-powered vehicle, which develops torque at zero rpm. But for those drivers who prefer a more traditional EV experience, a two-speed automatic is available as an option. Total weight hovers right around 2,400lbs.

With production capped at 999 units, the SP:01 goes on sale this August, priced at a cool $135,000. For thwarted early adopters who aspired to a Tesla Roadster before that Lotus-derived, $110,000 EV left production in 2011, the SP:01 could be read as a rolling second chance – with an inflation adjustment.

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