Reborn Detroit Electric charges into batterycar market NBC News com

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Detroit Electric SP:01

Reborn Detroit Electric into battery-car market

Eisenstein / The Detroit Bureau

Electric’s SP:01 will hit 60 in 3.7 and has a 155 mph top speed — with up to 180 range.

It’s been six decades since the last attempt to create a major new City-based auto company, and three-quarters of a century since the maker to use Detroit in its logo off the lights. That may explain why showed up to the first news of the resurrected Detroit Electric week.

They noted the maker is targeting the still-uncertain battery car market – and aiming to production by late summer though it doesn’t yet have a site.

Admitting that his new has yet to prove it is more than a CEO Albert Lam laid out a strategy could not only create a new of high-performance and long-range electric but also redefine the very of automotive manufacturing.

“The difference between and insanity,” declared the Hong entrepreneur, “is the realization of a dream.”

a few months ago, the launch of Electric might have iffy considering the lackluster of the U.S. battery-car market in Key entries, such as the Chevrolet and Nissan Leaf, lagged behind sales expectations. Tesla Motors ran 10 percent into the red for the year than while California-based rival Automotive was rapidly running out of and unable to re-launch production of its model, the Karma, never set a solid date for introducing its line.

Fisker is a still basket case, last furloughing its U.S. staff for a to save cash, but there been positive signs for vehicles in recent days. beat its first-quarter sales by nearly 10 percent and expects to its first-ever profit for the January-March

Among mainstream brands, has apparently scored a solid hit a new, lower-priced version of its The 2,236 cars sold in exceeded the forecast made by Motor Co. CEO Carlos Ghosn last week’s New York Show, where he estimated would near 1,900.

If was disappointment in the nascent battery-car it came at Chevrolet where of the plug-in Volt slumped by than a third, to 1,478, to year-earlier levels. For the first Volt is still up 8.4 percent, to 4,244. That means it ahead of the Nissan Leaf generated a three-month tally of and the 2,353 sales for the Toyota plug-in – though Volt is now in the market to the Tesla Model S.

Ford, Toyota and Honda gained traction for their hybrids, plug-ins and pre-battery-electric or BEVs, last month, and anticipate even more as additional brands enter the segment. Subaru just its first conventional hybrid at the NY show, where Audi plans to bring its first model to the States in 2014. And will have two plug-ins by including the relatively mainstream S E-Hybrid and the ultra-exotic 918 supercar.

Tesla, the reborn Detroit is focusing specifically on battery-electric starting out with a low-volume, sports car. Dubbed the it is based on a Lotus design and of super-light carbon fiber and aluminum. Its distinctive lithium-polymer will yield 180 miles Lam promised, even with a 0 to 60 of just 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 155

Detroit Electric SP:01

The SP:01 won’t come at $135,000, but it’s a halo designed to put Detroit Electric on the much as Tesla did several earlier with its own, Roadster. What will matter are the three Detroit models promised to quickly including mainstream sedan and offerings targeted for late – and carrying base prices of $32,000 to $35,000.


Like Motors, the last serious to create a Detroit-based maker, Lam and his have modest sales – as well as a radically different model. Unlike a conventional or even start-ups like and Fisker, Detroit Electric to make minimal investments. It set up a small factory in Detroit for the but the future models will be outsourced to suppliers who already plenty of excess capacity.

“We would probably have to $800 million” to set up a conventional operation,” suggested U.S. Don Graunstadt, adding that would “not be enough in (at least initially) to support kind of investment.”

In all, the executive/partners and a few “strategic investors” are to kick in perhaps $50 million to million to bring the realization of dream.

“There’s a bit of risk given the complexity of today’s and all the regulations you have to comply cautioned Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends “But your capital is minimal. It’s just to take careful program to make this work.”

who once worked as a senior manager, clearly was influenced by the approach of the consumer electronics But it remains to be seen if the strategy work with a vehicle of 15,000 or more parts.

Then again, if he’s Detroit Electric might not plug into an emerging for battery power but set a model the rest of the industry won’t be to ignore.

Copyright © 2009-2013, The Bureau

Detroit Electric SP:01
Detroit Electric SP:01
Detroit Electric SP:01
Detroit Electric SP:01
Detroit Electric SP:01

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