Lotus have confirmed that they will be manufacturing the rolling chassis for the new Detroit Electric SP:01 Electric Vehicle. The $135,000 EV will be based on Lotus’ proven small platform as used in the Elise and Exige and the rolling chassis will include Lotus suspension, steering & braking with the suspension slightly modified to deal with the change in weight distribution. Once supplied to Detroit Electric, they will transport the chassis for final assembly in Wayne County, Michigan, USA for American bound cars or to Lochem in the Netherlands for EU cars. All over, the new car will create 180 new jobs over the next 12 months and Detroit Electric plan on expanding the range to a family of electric cars with production capacity for up to 2,500 cars per year.
The deal will see Lotus producing 999 cars and will use the existing production lines at Hethel. The 1,090kg car will be manufactured alongside the existing Lotus range of supercharged Elise, Evora and Exige S with production beginning in August of this year. Design has been carried out by Detroit Electric and the body, unlike the Lotus range will be carbon fibre lending to the light weight despite the addition of battery packs. With the twin 37 kWh batteries, range is 180 miles and charge time is 4.3 hours (240v, 32 amps), however with a comparable power output of 201bhp the SP:01 accelerates to 60mph in a claimed lightning quick 3.7 seconds making it the fastest ever production electric car.
A new feature on electric vehicles is a 4 speed manual transmission as offered with the SP:01, a 2 speed automatic is also available. The manual will have a gear stick as expected although the clutch isn’t needed to move away from rest or to stop, just for gear changes. Normally a clutch would be used to disengage any gears from a ticking over petrol engine but with electric motors they are just off when not being used so come to a complete stop of their own accord.
Ex Lotus Engineering CEO and Executive Director of Lotus Cars Albert Lam heads up Detroit Electric and Chairman and CEO:
Albert Lam: “I am very fortunate to be working with a group of very talented engineers to create something really special. The sports car will allow us to demonstrate to the world our ability to build an exciting and innovative product. This DNA will be translated across to our future sedans; all our cars will be fun to drive and deliver exceptional performance within their class.”