Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Detroit Electric invites you to play Guess the Sports Car

NORMALLY Life On Cars doesn't do teaser shots - annoying images of cars almost completely hidden from view - but on this occasion it's worth making an exception.

This is the as-yet-unnamed sports car from Detroit Electric, a name that's been plucked from America's automotive back catalogue after an absence of over 70 years in order to create a trendy two-seater which will be made at a Michigan factory and officially launched next month at the Shanghai Motor Show.

Don Graunstadt, the company's chief executive, said: "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.

"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."

So what makes this otherwise obscure teaser shot so interesting? Well, very occasionally I'll get asked to play Guess the Sports Car - a largely Facebook-based game which involves successfully identifying the more obscure bits of Britain's roadster heritage - and for that reason my inner anorak almost immediately spotted a few familiar styling cues on Detroit Electric's offering.

Could this two-seater's "bold styling, outstanding performance, and exhilarating handling characteristics" be a bit British, by any chance? The LED lights and the minimalist door mirrors, I'm almost certain, are shared by a certain sports car I drove two years ago.

You might also like to know that one of Detroit Electric's backers is a chap called Albert Lam, whose CV includes a stint as the CEO of a car company and engineering group based in the Norfolk countryside. A company which already has a lot of experience of making electric sports cars closely based on its own models, like the Tesla Roadster and the Dodge EV.

Here's the wager, then. I'll eat my own shoes if the Detroit Electric isn't related, in some way or other, to the Lotus Elise...

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