March 31, 2009

Proton, Detroit Electric To Develop Electric Car

Malaysia-based Proton Holdings Bhd. has agreed to a deal with Netherlands-based Detroit Electric Holdings Ltd. to create electric cars to be marketed in Europe and the United States.

Detroit Electric has plans to sell more than 270,000 electric vehicles in the US, Europe and China by 2012.

Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamad Tahir, managing director of Proton told state media that the new deal is projected to increase revenue by 2 billion ringgit ($548 million) over the next four years.

The vehicles will be powered by a rechargeable lithium polymer battery, which will allow drivers to travel between 180 kilometers and 325 kilometers depending on the size of the battery, said Detroit Electric's chief executive Albert Lam.

"Our target audience are those who purchase practical and affordable vehicles. This makes our products fit the pockets of a very wide audience," Lam said in a statement.

The electric vehicle will be sold at a cost between $23,000 and $33,000 each, also depending on battery size.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the new deal will allow Detroit Electric to develop Proton vehicle models into electric cars. Models include the Persona and Gen2. Proton said the license and contract assembly agreements are valid for five years.

Detroit Electric produced the first electric car in the US during the early 1900s, but bankruptcy in 1939 caused the company to lay dormant until being brought back to life by Lam and shareholders in the Netherlands and the US last year.


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