The first Detroit Electric car was made in 1907, and the company made a total of 13 000 electric cars before ceasing production in 1939 under pressure from petrol engines, which were becoming cheaper and stronger.
Figtree Prophet partner Simon Myers says, ‘This is a company from the early 20th century that sold thousands of electric cars, before cheap oil effectively pulled the rug from under it.’
The Detroit Electric brand was bought in 2008 by Albert Lam, a former group chief executive at Lotus Engineering Group, who is relaunching the company with the SP:01 sports car model, unveiled this week.
The two-seat electric sports car has a top speed of 155mph and travels from 0-67mph in 3.7 seconds. Production of the car will start in Detroit in August, and has a starting price of $135 000 (£89 000).
The new Detroit Electric branding features an identity and product mark based on the original company logos, with branding developed around the concept of ‘Detroit 2.0’.
Myers says, ‘When you’re reviving a brand part of the job is always to think about what to take forward from the past and what to leave. There can be a temptation to overload the corporate story with history.
‘We were excited about the concept of “Detroit 2.0”. The company has great links with the city and has taken a long-term lease in an iconic Detroit building.’
Myers adds, ‘We wanted to base it around an urban feel, and the way we’re presenting the car is as quite muscular – as a sports car rather than an electric car.’