After showing practically no signs of life since being revived in a joint venture between Zap! and Youngman Automotive Group last February and officially striking out on its own less than a week ago, Detroit Electric has emerged, in Malaysia, as a Dutch company with $300 million in backing and a fleet of prototypes. Say what? We had a hint of this earlier but this seems to make it all official. The company, reportedly majority owned by CEO Albert Lam (Lam joined Zap! management late last year) has investors from America, Holland and Malaysia and appears to have taken over the Electric Cars Europe venture. The Malaysian appearance was a press event held to announce their plans to begin producing cars by the end of 2009.

We couldn't be there, but Paul Tan of PaulTan.org automotive blog fame was and he did a little ride-and-drive and took some pics. The sportiest of the the wares on hand was an electric Lotus Elise that we last saw circling a track in the Netherlands although now it sports "Detroit Electric" decals on its hood and doors. There was also a Proton Savvy (pictured above) and a Proton Persona. The pair of Protons were fast and wet conversions put together for the event and sported motors developed by Detroit Electric's chief scientist, Frits van Breemen-Schneider. An avid RC aircraft enthusiast who sells electric model aircraft and was co-president of Friend-EV, he claims his motors have a much higher power-to-weight ratio than existing tech and can produce 5 kilowatts of power per kilogram, adding that the best electric car of today are only capable of .25 kilowatts per kilogram. This is a bizarre claim, and either the International Herald Tribune made a mistake in quoting him or something because, at .25kw/kg the Tesla motor with 185 kw would weigh 1,628lbs.

Whatever the deal is with the motors, Detroit Electric is aiming sky high with a target of 30,000 cars in the first year and growing that to 270,000 by the third. As well as a Detroit Electric facility in Malaysia, the company hopes to work with the government to have a fast-charge network installed across the country. Press release after the break.

[Source: PaulTan.org / International Herald Tribune]

PRESS RELEASE:

Detroit Electric's Electric Car Hit The Road Again After 100 Year Absent.

DETROIT ELECTRIC IN SEARCH FOR MANUFACTURING PARTNERS TO ROLL OUT ELECTRIC CARS BY 2009

SHAH ALAM, September 2, 2008 – Detroit Electric is making a come back in a big way with plans to progressively roll out affordable electric vehicles worldwide by the end of 2009. The historic electric car brand held a regional media conference today to introduce electric car technology and unveil its business and manufacturing plans moving forward.

As part of the Malaysian Government's initiative to tackle rising fuel prices and the search for green alternative transportation, Detroit Electric's electric vehicle has been identified as one of the potential progressive innovative ways to tackle the on-going concerns. National car maker Proton has been requested by Prime Minister YAB Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to test and validate Detroit Electric's technology and explore the potential to collaborate to create a range of pure electric cars.

"The Malaysian Government is taking proactive measures to provide efficient and reliable alternative transportation to the people. Detroit Electric is working closely with them and we hope to provide a sustainable solution," said Albert Lam, Chairman and CEO of Detroit Electric.

"USD5 million has been invested in research and development over the past two and half years at our R&D facility in the Netherlands to develop this technology for electric vehicles. After months of hard work and search for strategic partners and new shareholders, Detroit Electric has now emerged with scaleable and durable electric drive systems solution ready to deliver affordable everyday electric cars."

In a show of the government's support towards this effort, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi took part in the country's recent 51st Merdeka Day Parade riding in a pure electric car.

Proton is kind enough to lend us the test track, so members of the media had the opportunity to experience the driving power and pleasure of pure electric cars. Detroit Electric has to date integrated its electric drive systems into Lotus Elise's, two Proton passenger cars, Daihatsu-Cuore and VW Golf, with the intent to use these electric drive systems to development pure electric vehicles for volume production within the next 18 months.

Lam said that Detroit Electric is currently exploring the potential to license from Proton and Lotus their vehicles and platforms, amongst others, to create pure electric vehicles under the Detroit Electric Brand.

Apart from technology for passenger cars, Detroit Electric has plans to roll out electric buses which will be in deployed in Europe and Asia by the end of 2009. "We believe that cars driven on renewable electric energy are the future of transportation, in light of worldwide environmental and rising fuel price issues. Our pure electric cars are environmentally friendly with 0% emission and performance on par with gasoline cars," Lam said.

Detroit Electric is also planning to open an engineering and research & development centre outside of the Netherlands; and Malaysia has been earmarked as one of its possible locations.

"Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi's vision and support in the use and development of green technology has created a fertile environment for a business such as ours. We are looking forward to a possible long term partnership with Malaysia moving forward," Lam said.

+++++

About Detroit Electric

"100 Years in the Making" Detroit Electric was an American icon in the early part of the 1900s. The brand represented the most popular electric car in history and the longest running electric car company, which operated between 1907 and 1939 by the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit Michigan. At the time, the car was very popular, with customers like Thomas Edison, Charles Proteus Steinmetz, Henry Ford's Wife Clara, and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Detroit Electric is a name that we believe will speak to generations about the past and the future of automobiles. We are proud to have a chance to re-build this great car name after 100 years. The Company is finalizing plans to build an array of cars, trucks and buses with the latest automotive technologies. One hundred years ago Detroit Electric had a car that could go 211 miles on a charge. With today's technology we should be able to go far beyond that. Join us in continuing this legacy of excellence in electric cars. Detroit Electric is a name that we believe will speak to generations about the past and the future of automobiles. We are proud to have a chance to re-build this great car name after 100 years. The Company is in the process to build an array of cars, trucks and buses with the latest automotive technologies.

Issued by PressRelease on behalf Detroit Electric


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