Lotuses are being used for all sorts of things nowadays; Hennessey utilizes one for the Venom GT — a machine they claim stands as the fastest production car in the world — and now Detroit Electric reveals its SP:01, stated as the fastest pure-electric sports car in the world. And with a 0-62 mph time of just 3.7 seconds, complimenting its top speed of 155 mph, if it does indeed see the light of day, the Detroit Electric SP:01 could provide further proof of a resurgent Motor City.
No doubt the SP:01's stats are impressive, but it's not power that makes the electric sports car so rapid, it's the weight; the SP:01 tips the scales at just 2,354 lbs. Power derives from an air-cooled, asynchronous AC electric motor, delivering 201 hp and 166 lb. ft. of instantaneous torque. Those figures, even mixed with the lightweight carbon-fiber body, make the speed statistics seem quite a stretch; I suppose it showcases the power of instant torque.
The manual gearbox seen on the Lotus remains, but the 5th and 6th gears are blocked off (5th can be reinstalled at a price). Changing gear promises to be seldom, however, as the taller ratios are only needed when achieving top speeds. Having multiple ratios makes a lot of sense in an electric car, as the drive ratio is often so long it diminishes the rewards offered by the instant torque. Having recently driven the Mercedes SLS Electric Drive (currently the fastest production EV in the world), which maintained that long gear, the initial power, while impressive, didn't match expectations. Perhaps this could be the answer?
With a power rating of 37 kWh, the lithium polymer batteries provide a range of 180 miles with a charge time of around four hours (when using a 240V charge point). A patented bi-directional charge feature enables the car to power your house, too. Cooling is controlled by an in-house system, with a thermal management pack fitted to keep the batteries and motor running at an optimum temperature.
At $135,000, the SP:01 will not be an electric sports car for the masses. And despite this announcement, Detroit Electric has a long road ahead to get its promised output of 999 cars into production, let alone sell any to stay afloat. The concept, on paper, sounds great. But as we've seen before, promises like this are increasingly difficult to fulfill.