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First production Detroit Electric SP:01 rolls off the line

The first ever Detroit Electric SP:01 has rolled off the production line in the UK, with the pure-electric sports car going on-sale in the coming weeks.

CLAIMED TO BE the lightest and fastest two-seat all-electric sports car “in the world” has rolled out of the factory in the UK. The car will go on-sale around the world in the coming weeks, it’s not confirmed whether it will go on-sale in Australia.

The Detroit Electric SP:01 combines a carbon-fibre body with an aluminium chassis, and can sprint from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds with a top speed of 249km/h. The SP:01 runs a 210kW electric motor which is mated to a single-speed automatic transmission (as standard), with the option of twin-speed automatic or 6-speed manual transmissions. The range is said to be just under 300km and a charge from empty takes around four hours.

Albert Lam, Chairman and Group CEO of Detroit Electric commented: “We are thrilled to see our first production car roll off the line at our UK manufacturing site. Our first customer is sure to appreciate the unique experience of driving the SP:01 as we’ve worked hard to develop technologies that ensure it is one of the most rewarding pure electric sports cars to drive.

“Seeing our vision realised is hugely satisfying and we can now focus on fulfilling a growing bank of orders. As our production process builds momentum, we look forward to providing this unique electric sports car to our customers all over the world,” he added.

According to the maker, the battery in the SP:01 has been “integrated into the chassis as a stressed member”, which adds stiffness and promises agile handling. The battery is said to be “the most energy-dense automotive battery pack in the world”, offering over 140Wh/kg, benefitting range while keeping overall vehicle weight low. As mentioned, though, the range of just 300km might not be enough to convince some buyers.

Cleverly, though, the SP:01 comes with built-in bi-directional charge and discharge capability via the company’s ‘360-Powerback’. This unit turns the vehicle into a power source for both the grid and the home. An advanced Battery Management System (BMS) gathers data about the car’s battery health and on-board telematics communicate it directly to the factory.

The SP:01 comes equipped with an app-based system called ‘SAMI’ (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment), which utilises Android technology and is fully compatible with Android Auto, providing safe access to a host of apps and internet functionality. SAMI allows users to search for nearby roadside charge points and then pre-book charging time, as well as review billing and credit information relating to their charge-point use.

When away from the SP:01, owners can use SAMI as a remote control unit via GSM, enabling them to locate the vehicle, turn on the climate control system and check the charge status. When in the car, the SAMI-enabled smartphone is installed in the centre console and becomes the interface for a wide range of functions, including music player, satellite navigation, regenerative braking adjustment, interior lighting and vehicle systems status – such as the level of battery charge, range to recharge and other telemetry.

Detroit Electric is clearly following in Tesla’s footsteps, but that’s probably a very smart thing. Build a halo sports car to attract attention and then follow it up with more practical mainstream models that will actually make money.

Do you think the Australian Government needs to do more to encourage electric vehicle uptake? For instance, should local government offices install free-to-use solar-powered charge stations?


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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober