| DETROIT, April 3
DETROIT, April 3 Detroit Electric, a startup
electric-car maker reviving a brand that dates back more than a
century, unveiled its first model on Wednesday: a $135,000,
battery-powered sports car that is to go into limited production
Founded more than five years ago, Detroit Electric enters a
still-nascent market that is struggling to find buyers. One of
its would-be rivals, Fisker Automotive, a hybrid-electric
sports-car company that hasn't built a car since last summer,
has hired a law firm to advise on a possible bankruptcy filing.
With a projected top speed of 155 mph, the Detroit Electric
SP:01 is "the world's fastest pure-electric sports car," the
company says, adding the two-seater has a range of "just under
190 miles" between charges.
The car will be built in the Detroit area at a dedicated
plant with an annual capacity of 2,500, the company said
Wednesday at a reception at its new headquarters in Detroit's
historic Fisher Building.
Detroit Electric plans to build only 999 SP:01's, which it
says will be followed by "a new family of all-electric
production cars, including two other high-performance models
that will enter production by the end of 2014."
The SP:01 appears to borrow heavily from the British-built
Lotus Elise -- no surprise considering a number of Detroit
Electric executives previously worked for various affiliates of
Versions of the Elise have been used by other low-volume
carmakers, notably Tesla Motors, which based its $100,000-plus
Roadster electric car on the Lotus chassis.
Detroit Electric said the SP:01 was being introduced
"following a five-year development and road-test program."
The Detroit Electric brand had been dormant since 1939.
Previously, it was used on a series of electric cars built in
Detroit from 1907.
The brand was revived in 2007 as a joint venture between
China's Youngman Automotive Group -- which tried unsuccessfully
to acquire bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab in 2012 -- and a
small California-based electric-car company called Zap.
The venture hired Lotus Engineering in 2007 to provide
contract design and technical services. In late 2007, Albert
Lam, the chief executive of Lotus Engineering, joined the
venture as chairman and was named CEO of Detroit Electric in