Specialist manufacturer Lightning Car Company is set to build a 700bhp electric sports car. The Lightning GT will be powered by batteries and capable of delivering a range of 250 miles on a single charge by distributing power through electric wheel motors.
Is this a ‘battery-powered TVR’?
All of the power will be available from zero rpm and a 0-60 time of under four seconds is predicted. The NanoSafe technology that the GT will use is from American company Altairnano and is the result of the company’s research into safe, high-power batteries using nanotechnology.
Power to the wheels will be delivered through a British-developed system called Hi-Pa Drive, an integrated motor and drive electronics in one single unit.
The combination of the two systems helps produce more power and the Hi-Pa drive system has already been used by Volvo on its ReCharge Concept.
Despite the power, the Lightning GT is limited to 130mph to keep the range up and because it’s the speed the company decided would suit a road car.
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And what are the cost-benefits exactly?
The Lightning GT will be exempt from road tax and congestion charging. LCC also estimates a saving of £10,000 a year compared to an Audi RS4 covering an average of 20,000 miles. Charging costs are estimated at 2.2p per mile, compared to 26.4 of the petrol equivalent.
How else is it different to the petrol Lightning?
The front end has been modified to give it a more flowing, modern feel. There’s a new light cluster design and a bigger ‘mouth’ featuring fog lights inset into bodywork that’s made from carbon fibre and Kevlar, with an aluminium honeycomb.
To add to its green credentials, the new Lightning will come with regenerative braking.
How close is it to production?
Built by engineers with experience from McLaren and Lola, the Lightning GT is only in the prototype-building stage at the moment, but deposits are already being taken for production this year.
LCC hopes to showcase the prototype in 2008, although the company wouldn’t say where or when. However, a price of £150,000 has been given.
‘Ten or perhaps five years ago, electric power was dismissed as a poor substitute for petrol, diesel or LPG,’ said Lightning technical director, Arthur Wolstenholme. ‘But the world has moved on significantly.’
‘The Lightning is intended to compete with premium market sport cars but our electric power should outstrip the response rates, torque and driveability of most exotic performance super cars.’
Will there be any other variants?
LCC plans to produce three models: a luxury Grand Tourer, a lightweight Lightning Sport and an ‘extended range’ model which will be capable or reaching 250 miles on a single 10-minute charge.