Chinese investor's $1.8B breathes new life into Detroit Electric

The company's next EV will be an SUV for 2018.

It's been a while since we've heard anything from Detroit Electric. A little over a year ago, the company had turned over its first Lotus-based EV (sound familiar?), called the SP:01, to a Chinese distributor. It seems that there have been plans made and hands shaken in the background since then. Detroit Electric just announced a joint venture worth $1.8 billion with a Chinese electrical and battery company called Far East Smarter Energy Group, as well as plans for two more EV models in the next few years.

The JV will spend $370 million to ramp up Detroit Electric's European operations over the next four years, including expanding its current facilities in Leamington Spa, England. The first goal is to get production of the SP:01 up and running. They hope to get series production rolling by the end of 2017.

At the same time, the partners will work to secure a new facility to work out of – that includes design, R&D, testing, and production. According to their aggressive plan, that will enable them to develop an all-electric SUV (sound familiar?), and begin production in 2018. That model will be quickly followed by a third EV for 2020, at which point Detroit Electric hopes to be selling 100,000 cars a year globally.

If you think that sounds ambitious for a company whose production plans have been repeatedly delayed (sound familiar?), you're not alone. Hold on to that healthy skepticism. At the same time, though, keep in mind that $1.8 billion is a lot of capital to work with, and perhaps the timing is finally right for another EV company to take off.

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