Detroit Electric SP:01

Albert Lam revives an early 20th-century electric auto brand in Motor City

by Nicole Rupersburg


As the automotive capital of the world, Detroit is known for the Big Three—GM, Ford and Chrysler. But a new player in town, Detroit Electric, aims to make a name for electric automotive in the Motor City. The name pays homage to an early-20th-century electric vehicle producer founded in 1906 that produced about 13,000 electric cars before closing in 1939. Detroit Electric brings back this historic Detroit brand for a whole new millennium.

Detroit Electric has unveiled the SP:01, a limited-edition two-seat roadster that will be the fastest pure electric sports car in production. It is also the first pure electric sports car to be built in Detroit—Detroit Electric’s world headquarters are located in the city and an assembly plant (one of only two worldwide) will be located nearby.

With a top speed of 155 mph and 0-62 mph in 3.7 seconds, this sports car is pure electricity with a range of more than 180 miles on a single charge. It’s also pure seduction—the car has curves, and looks remarkably similar to the racecars produced by British manufacturer Lotus. Which is really no coincidence, since Detroit Electric Founder and Group CEO Albert Lam is the former CEO of Lotus Engineering Group, and joked at the official unveiling that 85% of Detroit Electric’s staff came from Lotus.


Detroit Electric’s Head of Design Jerry Chung has designed the SP:01’s entire body out of carbon fiber. The military-grade battery can power your house for two and a half days—seriously. Consider that a perk of the $135,000 price tag.

Along with being at the forefront of electric car design and production, Detroit Electric also leads when it comes to integrated automotive and smart phone technology. SAMI—Detroit Electric’s Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment system—is an all-inclusive app that can do everything short of actually driving the car. Adjust the temperature, record your driving behavior and control all other functionalities right from your phone. Basically, it’s Siri on a whole new level. SAMI will be standard with all Detroit Electric production vehicles.


Production of the SP:01 will start in August 2013 and the cars will hit the streets in September. Only 999 of the SP:01 will be made, but this is only the first stage of production for Detroit Electric. Two higher-production models, a sedan and a hatchback offered in both short- and long-range, will go into production in 2014.

Images courtesy of Detroit Electric