If Detroit Electric isn’t going to build electric cars in Detroit, should it have to give up its name? That’s the argument of Keith Crain, who says that since the car has almost nothing to do with Detroit besides its name, the U.S. trademark office should yank it away. I can’t say I disagree.
As Crain rightly points out, the Detroit Electric SP:01 features an English-built Lotus body, an electric motor and batteries made in Asia, and will actually be assembled in the Netherlands, not Michigan as first promised. Though there’s still talk of bringing Detroit Electric back to the Motor City, this whole thing reeks of Fisker 2.0.
It’s another low blow to a city that’s seen more than its fair share of below-the-belt hits, and worse, it could keep another company with the means and wherewithal to actually build an EV from using the name in a more appropriate fashion.
The Detroit Electric name actually dates back to 1907 and lasted until 1939 before a 2008 revival that was initially supposed to produce a premium sedan and sports car. Then there was a “relaunch” last year that promised to begin production by the end of 2014 before yet another delay. Now Detroit Electric wants to build a Tesla Roadster knockoff, something even Elon Musk admitted wasn’t a terribly great product.
It’s hard to disagree with Crain, though I don’t think the U.S. trademark office is in the habit of just yanking trademarks because it offends common sense…though maybe’ there’s a case to be made about false advertising?