When Tesla Roadster production ceased, the world was suddenly left without a fast, fun, and (comparatively) affordable all-electric sports car. The revival of the Detroit Electric name hopes to change that with the SP:01, a Lotus-based electric coupe that will begin production this summer. In many ways, this is like the Tesla Roadster 2.0…but with a hardtop roof.
Let’s skip all the hyperbole and get straight to the meat and potatoes. The Detroit Electric SP:01 uses a custom made carbon fiber body based on the Lotus Exige, a hardtop version of the Lotus Elise, which underpins the Tesla Roadster. Power comes from two 37 kWh battery packs motivating an AC electric motor that makes 201 horsepower and 166 ft-lbs of torque.
That doesn’t sound like a lot, but its apparently enough power to sprint from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds, the same time as a Tesla. The Detroit Electric also offers between 150 and 180 miles of driving range, depending on how you measure range. Again, this is comparable to the Tesla Roadster.
But there is one key difference that enthusiasts are sure to appreciate between the Detroit Electric and Tesla, and that is the transmission. Where the Tesla uses a one-speed automatic, Detroit Electric will use a 4-speed manual with an optional 5th gear, as well as a two-speed automatic. For my money, the 5-speed is the only way to go in an electric sports car that weighs just 2,400 pounds. Who couldn’t have fun with that?
What this will all come down to, however, is price. With the Tesla Roadster no longer in production, the market for a $100,000 electric sports car is wide open. Sure other companies are offering electric supercars, like Mercedes and Rimac, but those cars cost anywhere from $500,000 to almost a million bucks. Can Detroit make a name for itself…again?