EV firm re-launches, takes aim at global warming

detroit-electric-e-63-bDetroit Electric, the early 20th century electric vehicle manufacturer, has re-launched into a world-wide venture with offices in the Netherlands and Hong Kong.

The company is looking to place roots once again in Michigan, and plans to establish engineering headquarters in Ann Arbor, according to a story on AnnArbor.com.

Detroit Electric executives hope to base the company’s technology and engineering center in Ann Arbor, but are also looking at North Carolina and California. The center would employ about 500 engineers.

The company, which re-launched in 2007, engineers the electric drive trains for its cars. It entered into a contract in 2009 with the Malaysian car manufacturer PROTON, which will provide the bodies for the vehicles.

It plans to sell its cars in the U.S., Europe and Asia.

“We’re on the brink of a social and technological revolution in transport as the threat from global warming and greenhouse gases continues to grow,” said Detroit Electric Chairman and CEO Albert Lam in a keynote speech at the Plug-In Singapore conference in November.

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“We can’t go on contributing to these world problems by relying on the same energy options – the market needs and demands something more progressive and they are ready for more choices,” he said.

If the company settles its engineering headquarters in Ann Arbor, it would join more than 30 automotive technology centers in the area, including Toyota and Hyundai-Kia, according to the AnnArbor.com story.

The company plans to have four vehicle platforms and eight body types for sale within the next ten years.

It will lease batteries to Detroit Electric drivers for five-year periods.

Detroit Electric will sell mid-priced sedans and a high-end sports car model. Its first model will be introduced in Europe in late 2010.

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