Two cars to go on sale next year, following tie-in with US company Detroit Electric
1 April 2009

Proton is to mass-produce two plug-in electric cars under licence for a new US company, Detroit Electric.

A saloon model, called the e63, will share its platform with the Proton Persona saloon, while the e46 will share its underpinnings with the Proton Gen-2 hatchback.

Former Lotus CEO Albert Lam heads Detroit Electric and it plans to launch its two cars in Europe, including the UK, and Asia next spring, with a US launch to follow later in 2010.

Lithium-ion batteries will power the cars and no petrol engines will be used as range-extenders.

The e63 saloon will have an estimated range of 200 miles per charge and prices are tipped to start from around £20,000.

Detroit Electric’s e46 hatchback will have a range of 110 miles and will cost around £16,000.

Both cars will have tweaked exteriors to differentiate the electric models from the standard Proton base cars.

Detroit Electric is forecasting combined sales of 40,000 units for both cars in its first year and it hopes to eventually sell 100,000 cars a year.

Its business plan allows it to build cars within Proton’s existing infrastructure at its Malaysian Tanjung Malim plant, which means no new investment in facilities will be necessary.

Mark Tisshaw

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