A startup carmaker that adopted an old brand unveiled its first car this week, a battery-powered sports car dubbed the SP:01. The new Detroit Electric company says it took five years to develop its new car and will make the $135,000 limited model available beginning August 2013.
The original Detroit Electric began in 1906 but halted production in 1939 during the Great Depression as drivers adopted gas-fueled engines. The new Detroit Electric is a partnership between California-based electric car company Zap and China's Youngman Automotive Group. Each moved operations to the Motor City in 2007, revived the Detroit Electric brand and will build new cars in the Detroit area.
The SP:01's features are not starkly different from those of its chief competitor, the Tesla electric Roadster, but it does offer potential electric-market customers a new choice. The SP:01's chassis, like the Roadster's, is based on the British-built Lotus Elise. The Roadster goes from zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds and has a top speed of 125 mph. The SP:01, meanwhile, hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and can reach a top speed of 155 mph.
The SP:01 will come with a powering machine that not only charges the car in four hours but can also detect if a home loses power for any reason and use the car's stored electric energy to power the home. The SP:01 gets 180 miles per full charge, while the Roadster boasts 245 miles.