Saleen Automotive, a venture of sports car tuner Steve Saleen, is developing an electric car, the company announced this week.
No technical details or renderings have been released, but Saleen says he will show scale models of the vehicle early next year. But given Saleen's long history of creating high horsepower versions of sports cars, such as the Ford Mustang, the new electric car will presumably be designed to appeal to those seeking high performance.
With the Tesla Roadster now out of production and several other ventures attempting to produce sporty electric cars struggling, Saleen's name and reputation could bolster interest in a high performance electric car.
"I'm not prepared to give all the details of our electric vehicle project yet, but I can tell you that it is unlike anything currently in the marketplace," Steve Saleen said in a statement. "Throw out your pre-conceived notions and expectations. This vehicle will be revolutionary in its aesthetics and mechanics."
He did not say when the car would be available or how many he planned to produce.
Sales of electric vehicles are slow. A recent survey showed that few consumers are willing to pay much more than $25,000 for an electric vehicle. To spark sales of the Leaf, for example, Nissan cut $6,400 off the sticker price to $22,150, including delivery.
This week, Mitsubishi cut the price of the i-MiEV by $6,130. After the $7,500 federal tax credit, the small vehicle's sticker price is $16,345. Mitsubishi sold just 12 iMiEVs in November.
Saleen says he is not concerned about slow sales of electric vehicles.
"We look at this from the bottom up, not the top down. Our business model does not require us to be high volume," Saleen told Automotive News.
Saleen would not divulge any details about the car, saying only that the vehicle could be purchased from another automaker as a glider -- minus the powertrain -- and then have the electric motor and battery installed. This is how Tesla built its Roadster.
Saleen also said his company could also build the complete vehicle itself from the wheels up. "We've applied a lot of interesting and new thinking about what we have done in the past," he said.
"We intend to enter this market with an offering that is truly innovative and offers the styling and craftsmanship associated with the Saleen Automotive brand," Saleen said."The rapid pace of advancements in electric vehicle technology makes our entry into this market sector timely and should expedite completion of this project."
Saleen Automotive, based in Corona, Calif., currently offers modified versions of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger. The cars are purchased by customers at licensed new-car dealers and then shipped to Saleen's facility for modification.