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Detroit Electric: 10 things to know about the new electric vehicle company

After an absence of over 70 years, Detroit Electric, the innovative electric car manufacturer, has returned to the legendary Motor City, promising job creation and a range of exciting 100 percent electric vehicles for the mass market. (Photo by Detroit Electric)

DETROIT- The announcement of a new Detroit electric vehicle company on Tuesday caught many off guard, as sales of the niche vehicles remain staggered in the U.S.

But Detroit Electric’s CEO of North America Operations Don Graunstadt seems confident that the company, with its resurrected name brand that was made popular in the early 1900s for electric vehicles, can succeed.

The company plans to be headquartered in Detroit’s Fisher Building, hire 180 employees by the end of the year and produce a new lineup of all-electric vehicles, including a limited-edition two-seat sports car.

In a phone interview Tuesday night with MLive.com, Graunstadt answered all the questions he could about the new company, its vehicles and funding. Besides what’s above, here’s a look at 10 things we think everyone should know about Detroit Electric:

1. No feds: The company was funded without any federal government support through private equity besides a $50,000 loan, which it has repaid, from Ann Arbor-based Spark.

2. Family of vehicles: The first Detroit Electric sports car — set to go on sale in target markets by the end of August 2013 — is planned to spearhead a “diverse family” of all-electric production cars, including two other high-performance models that are planned to enter production by the end of 2014.
Detroit-Electric-logo.jpg Detroit Electric Detroit Electric

3. World debut: The limited-edition sports car will be unveiled April 3 in Detroit, ahead of a public auto show reveal at the Shanghai Motor Show on April 20. The company released a teaser photo of the vehicle (embedded above) on Tuesday.

4. Assembly: Detroit Electric is close to finalizing a facility in Wayne County for assembly, with production set to start in August. The dedicated production facility is expected to have an annual capacity of 2,500 sports cars.

5. Partners: The company plans to announce a “major partnership with a global carmaker” at the Shanghai Motor Show. Graunstadt said Detroit Electric has a licensing agreement to use Lotus platforms for at least the first two vehicles, but the partner is a “much larger Chinese OEM (original equipment manufacturer).”
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