Detroit Electric brand is back with plans to build cars globally - New York News

Detroit Electric brand is back with plans to build cars globally

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Don Graunstadt is the CEO of North American Operations at Detroit Electric. Don Graunstadt is the CEO of North American Operations at Detroit Electric.
DETROIT (WJBK) -

A video on YouTube has electric car fans all over the world excited about a new company called Detroit Electric.

"We intend to build cars in North America for [the] North American market, build cars in Europe for the European market and build them in Asia for the Asian market," said Don Graunstadt.

He is Detroit Electric's CEO of North American Operations. Since their big unveiling at the Fisher Building in April, he says the company has been doing big things, including the announcement of a partnership with the Chinese company Geely.

"If you want to be successful in the electrical vehicle industry, you have to have a partner in China," Graunstadt said. "China is going to be the biggest market for electric vehicles. They don't have a legacy gasoline industry... like we do here. So they're going to go into the future with electric."

The original Detroit Electric sold cars from the turn of the century to almost 1939.  As the brand returns, there is a lot of competition in the sector, most notable the now-profitable California-based auto company Tesla, which also started off with a roadster based on the Lotus body.

"Our business model is a little bit different. We haven't gone out and bought a $400 million plant to manufacture cars," Graunstadt said. "We contract a lot of... what I would call the build-out, and what we're doing is we're using our resources to focus on marketing and innovation for the consumer."

Since they acquired the name and history, Detroit Electric has a lot to live up to, but Graunstadt, a former Lotus executive, says their future is bright as the Motor City turns electric.

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