DETROIT — After an absence of more than 70 years, Detroit Electric, the electric car manufacturer, is returning to the Motor City, promising job creation and a range of 100 percent electric vehicles for the mass market.
The original electric car brand, Detroit Electric has announced the establishment of its corporate headquarters on the 18th floor of the Fisher Building, with Don Graunstadt, CEO, North America Operations at Detroit Electric, signing a long-term lease.
A site has also been identified to assemble the first ever pure electric sports car in Michigan, with the company saying production will start in August at an annual capacity of 2,500 cars. Detroit Electric says it aims to create more than 180 sales and manufacturing-related jobs over the next 12 months.
Following five years of relentless research and engineering development, the first model to carry the renowned Detroit Electric logo will be a limited-edition two-seat sports car. This new sports car will be launched early next month in Detroit, ahead of a global public reveal at the Shanghai Motor Show April 20. The show will also provide the platform for Detroit Electric to share an exciting announcement about a major partnership with a global carmaker. Full details will be announced on the first press day of the show.
On sale in many of Detroit Electric’s target markets by end of August 2013, the new Detroit Electric sports car will spearhead a diverse family of all-electric production cars, including two other high-performance models that will enter production by end of 2014.
“We are proud to become the fourth car manufacturer born out of Detroit, and the first to manufacture a pure electric sports car from Michigan,” Graunstadt said. “We are committed to doing our part for this great revival of Detroit through innovation, entrepreneurship and determination – what we like to call ‘Detroit 2.0’. Our investors and management team are thankful to the State of Michigan for the help provided in allowing Detroit Electric to carry on the legacy that began in Michigan so many years ago.”
Detroit could be regarded as the home of the electric car. Early in the last century the electric vehicle industry was flourishing in Detroit and a company called Detroit Electric was at its very heart, innovating and selling more electric vehicles than any other company. By 1912 there were numerous American electric vehicle makers, with Detroit Electric both the market leader and the most prolific, going on to make around 13,000 cars — an electric vehicle production world record for the twentieth century. Notable customers included Thomas Edison, Mamie Eisenhower, John D. Rockerfeller Jr. and Clara Ford, the wife of Henry Ford.
The brand was revived in 2008 by Albert Lam, former Group CEO of the Lotus Engineering Group and Executive Director of Lotus Cars of England, with a vision to produce an electric vehicle that seamlessly integrates refined aesthetics, innovative technology and superior handling and performance.
To safeguard its sustainable growth, Detroit Electric employs an ‘asset light’ business model, similar to brands such as Apple and Nike, focusing investment on R&D and marketing. Detroit Electric’s Chairman and Group CEO, Albert Lam, brings to Detroit Electric various operational disciplines from his time heading up technology and innovation-driven businesses in Asia, including Apple and Sun Microsystems.