• Jun 13th 2007 at 10:35AM
  • 7
Click on the photo a a gallery of high res images of the Lightning GT

After we posted the initial information on the Lightning GT yesterday, we contacted Arthur Wolstenholme, the Technical Director at the Lightning Car Company, to get more information on the new car. At this time they only have gas engine powered prototypes running that are being used for chassis development. The first battery-powered version should be running later this year.

The Lightning GT engineers won't have to worry about working out the blending of the regenerative braking and friction braking because there is no friction braking. The Lightning will rely entirely on regen from the wheel motors. For those of you high-performance electric car enthusiasts that were hoping to see this as an alternative to the Tesla Roadster, don't hold your breath to see this one come across the pond any time soon.

The Tesla will look cheap by comparison with an initial price estimate of £150,000 (roughly $300,000) the Lightning will definitely be only for the thick-walleted greenie. Lightning is clearly looking to recoup the entire cost of the Altairnano batteries and composite structure up front rather than selling clean air credits like Phoenix. No annual volume estimates are available until they see how many orders and how many batteries they can get. Initially the cars will be available in the UK only with a left hand drive version for the continent coming after that. If the company survives that they will consider the US market and what it would take to certify the car here.

[Source: Lightning Car Company]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Two-seaters are easier to make in an EV format because you have a lot of room for a big battery and the car as a whole can be small to save weight and improve aerodynamics (thus not needing a huge battery).

      There aren't a lot of groups attempting sedans right now. The only "in-production" options are all home-made conversions of ICE vehicles.

      If you live in California, you may be able to buy a Phoenix SUV/SUT sometime in 2008. They're apparently doing crash testing and certification right now. They're not available outside Cali because they need ZEV credits for profitability.

      Tesla Motors has plans in the works, but that's all they are for now. If anyone can do it, though, it'd be Tesla.

      I've seen occasional announcements from other companies, but those designs exist exclusively in marketing materials, and often contradict science.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The whole crash test/safety standard obstacle leads me to believe there's still an opportunity for someone to mass-produce an EV based on an existing ICE chassis. Something along the line of the idea behind the Solectria Force (a factory-converted Geo Metro, starting with a new chassis).

      Using an existing chassis limits expenses based on regulatory compliance (it's already been done).

      Perhaps something the size of a Ford Focus: Small, but not too small (which was one of the Metro's problems); the back seat is usable in a Focus. The Focus is available in coupe, sedan and wagon variants, so there's potential to share the technology for different target markets. In particular, the wagon might offer the hope of 4 reasonably usable seats and decent battery capacity. A coupe could borrow from the SVT parts bin for a sport version. The sedan could sacrifice the rear seat for longer range.

      Solectria's experience makes it hard to believe it's possible to do this sort of thing at reasonable price. The Force went for something like $30K+ back in the early 90s, when the Metro sold for slightly over $10K. Most were sold for fleets where the cost could be justified based on green image or tax benefits.

      But Solectria only produced the Force in modest quantity. Could the fiscal side make sense at something like 20K cars a year?

      I'm still hoping - and waiting...
      • 8 Years Ago
      Everyone wants to see the Model T or the VW Bug of electric vehicles. . . But remember even the Model T didn't appear out of nothing, it was preceded by a lot of other gasoline-powered cars which were made in small numbers and were basically toys for the wealthy. That's how new technology usually gets started.

      The Model T of modern electric cars will come, we have to be patient.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's clear we're entering an era where technology is making high-performance, luxury electric cars readily producible - but only attainable by a few of the wealthy.

      So... Who will create the first "Model T" of this electric car era? It needs to be a family sedan (sorry, 2 seat sports cars powered by *anything* will always be a niche player), and affordable by a typical family. It also needs to be widely available; so ubiquitous that service and support issues cease to be a concern.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Not sure how a car can work with exclusivly dynamic braking. For this to work at low speeds, current is required to be drained from the batteries. Parking on a hill would mean a constant current applied to the motors, until the batteries went flat & the car rolled away.

      Usually electric cars use a dynamic/friction hybrid, I suspect tis one will be no differant.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What would it take to certify the car in the USA? Probably a complete redesign. . . The wheel motors and corresponding lack of mechanical brakes would appear to be a large obstacle. And yes, that is an issue the ZAP-X will also have to grapple with, if it's ever built.

      The good news is, a successful deployment of the technology in this car (and others) would increase the likelihood of regulations being updated sometime in the future to accommodate it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ouch; that's even higher than I expected!

      With Tesla's arrival in Europe virtually inevitable, the Lightning won't be around long. It'll be a hot collectors car someday, though ;)
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