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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Detroit Electric Returns To Life In 2010
As Posted to The Motor Report

Remember Detroit Electric? Of course you don’t; the brand had all but disappeared by the early 1930s. Before the end of this decade however, the just-resuscitated Detroit Electric plans to have its cars on the road once again.

After being reformed in 2007, Detroit Electric hopes to have its first modern offering available next year. A compact four-door based on the Proton Persona will surface first, to be joined by a hatchback version later on.

As the badge suggests, the new Detroit Electric will be - you guessed it - an all-electric affair. The expected range for Detroit Electric’s EV is 180 kilomteres (110 miles), with a price between USD $24,000 and $26,000 (AUD $34,700 to 37,700).

An extended-range version capable of up to 320 kilometres (200 miles) on a single charge will add USD$ 4,000 to $5,000 (AUD $5,780 to $7,230) to the price.

The car will use a lithium-polymer battery pack supplied by a Korean manufacturer to deliver power to an electric motor developed by Detroit Electric’s Netherlands-based engineering team.

The company is planning to launch its first vehicle in China, Europe and the US as an everyday vehicle which will offer comparable performance and practicality to a regular petrol-powered vehicle according to Albert Lam, CEO of Detroit Electric and former CEO of Lotus Engineering.

In 2007, we adopted the Detroit Electric name and revived it because it brings us in line with the vision and essence of electric driving they had,” Mr Lam said.

“We want to produce an affordable, practical pure electric car.”

Instead of developing its own cars from the ground-up, Detroit Electric plans to introduce a series of joint ventures to build its vehicles. Proton’s existing range will be used to begin with, teamed with Detroit Electric’s own batteries and motor.

Mr Lam pointed to their proposed business model as the way forward for automotive manufacturing. Shorter development times and lower overhead costs being the key to building vehicles that are affordable and able to move with customer demands.

1917 Detroit Electric Coup

Production targets are set at 40,000 cars per year for 2010, when the car will be introduced in Europe and China. Later that year the US market will be added and production numbers raised accordingly.

Studies show that the average car trip in the US is less than 65 kilometres (40 miles) per day, a driving range easily accommodated by the Detroit Electric vehicle.

North American President of Detroit Electric, Marianne McInerney, claims that ”this car has been designed to appeal to the broadest audience possible”.