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Detroit Electric to build first sports car in the UK

Based on the Lotus Elise, the SP:01 is said to be the world’s fastest electric car, reaching 60mph in 3.7 seconds on the way to a top speed of 155mph. It is to be the first part of a multi-model electric vehicle range which will also include a 2+2 supercar and a saloon built in Michigan.

The facility in Leamington Spa is a change of direction for the company, which had planned production to take place near Detroit but said the regulatory process was taking longer than anticipated.

Instead, the SP:01 will launch in Europe and Asia later this year, before being introduced to the North American Market during 2015. Detroit Electric has established a sales and marketing headquarters in Houten, in the Netherlands, to oversee its activities in the EMEA region.

Leamington Spa will employ 80 staff by the end of the first quarter of 2015, the company said.

Albert Lam, Chairman and CEO of Detroit Electric, said: ‘While Detroit was our preferred initial assembly location, the regulatory process for the production and sale of the SP:01 in the US has taken longer then expected.

‘That means the assembly operations have to be located in Europe to allow us to bring the vehicle to market globally in line with our timing plans. We're growing our team at the company's headquarters in Detroit and we are committed to bringing investment and jobs to the Detroit economic area in the very near future.’

Founded in 1907, Detroit Electric was one of the world’s biggest electric vehicle manufacturers in the early part of the 20th Century, building 13,000 units before it filed for bankruptcy in 1939.

The company was revived in 2008 by Albert Lam, former group chief executive officer of Lotus Engineering Group and executive director of Lotus Cars, and is headquartered in the Fisher Building in Detroit.

Alex Grant

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