Detroit Electric May Be On Verge Of Launch With Chinese JV Investor

Detroit Electric is close to finally launching its long-awaited SP:01 through a $1.8 investment by a Chinese company.

The startup electric carmaker has formed a joint venture with Far East Smarter Energy Group, a Chinese company that makes batteries and electrical components. The two companies hope to get series production ramped up by the end of this year for the SP:01 electric sports car, and will plan for two more electric car models in the near future.

The companies will invest about $370 million to develop Detroit Electric’s operations in Europe. That includes building up its production plant in Leamington Spa, England.

The joint venture group is also looking into finding another facility that will make room for design, research and development, testing, and manufacturing.

They’re hoping to build up the right momentum to finally get the all-electric SP:01 out there; next in line will be a battery electric SUV that should begin production next year. The SUV will be followed in 2020 by a third EV model. By that point, the company plans to hit an ambitious goal – selling about 100,000 vehicles per year globally.

Chinese companies have played a significant role in Detroit Electric’s goal of making it in the capital-intensive auto manufacturing business. In 2013, the U.S. company made an agreement with Chinese automaker Geely Automobile manufacture, through a JV company, to manufacturer components for Geely’s electric cars sold in China.

Last year, the carmaker created an all alliance with Chinese company Jowett Motors to sell the SP:01 in that market. Jowett has taken on the role of Detroit Electric’s importer in China.

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The company was revived in 2008, over a century later from its previous life as one of the very first electric carmakers ever. Albert Lam, chairman and CEO, has lead a team of firmer Lotus Engineering executives. The SP:01 has been based on a Lotus platform, and was launched in 2013. The company started with a factory in Holland through the initial testing phase, and eventually set up a larger plant in England. The first production unit rolled out in England late last year.

The JV with Far East Smarter Energy Group could be what the company has needed for years to break through the startup phase to being a real Tesla competitor.


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