Putting a futuristic spin on a historic name from the annals of zero-emission automaking, a revitalized Detroit Electric has taken the wraps off a new high-performance sports car that it claims will be the fastest pure-electric production model on the market. Originally established in 1906 but dormant from 1939 until 2008, the firm plans to start building a limited run of 999 total SP:01 models starting this August at its new facility in Wayne County, Michigan. Detroit Electric's ambitious master plan also encompasses an entire family of advanced EVs, including two more high-performance models due to come on line by the end of 2014.

This slick 2-seater is based on the same aluminum platform architecture that also underpins the Lotus Elise and Exige. However, here it's wrapped in unique carbon fiber bodywork crowned by a lift-off top panel. Motivation for the SP:01 comes from a mid-mounted electric motor that makes 201 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. Energized by two advanced lithium-polymer battery packs with a healthy 37kWh total capacity, it drives the rear wheels through a 4-speed (yes, four-speed) manual transmission. Thanks to the car's trim 2,354-pound curb weight, the SP:01 can sprint from 0-62 mph in just 3.7 seconds and race on to a top speed of 155 mph.

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With bespoke steering, suspension and brake calibrations, Detroit Electric promises the SP:01's dynamic qualities will be fully equal to its exhilarating acceleration potential. As for range, the car is expected to deliver in excess of 180 miles on a single charge, aided by its extremely efficient regenerative braking system. Using the firm's home-charging unit, the batteries in the SP:01 can be replenished on a 240V/32A system in around 4.5 hours, although that time will about double when done on a more common 14-16A circuit. With its unique bi-directional capability, Detroit Electric's innovative "360 Powerback" charger also allows stored battery energy to be transferred back into the owner's home, if necessary.

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The cabin of the SP:01 features a tasteful mix of leather upholstery set off with carbon fiber trim elements. It also boasts Detroit's Electric's Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment (SAMI) system that provides comprehensive command and control functions for the car's audio, navigation and climate control systems, plus powertrain monitoring capabilities.

"The SP:01 will be exclusive, luxurious and technologically advanced," said Albert Lam, Detroit Electric's Chairman and Group CEO, at the reveal. "The car will allow us to demonstrate to the world our ability to build an exciting and innovative product, one that displays outstanding performance coupled with strong green credentials, and which delivers an exhilarating driving experience."

The 2014 Detroit Electric SP:01 will be covered by a 3-year/30,000-mile warranty, with pricing set to open at $135,000.


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