We were starting to worry. It has been 9 months since we first heard about the all electric Lightning GT sports car from England. At the time there were photographs of a sleek blue sports car with lines and curves revealing an unmistakably British pedigree. There was talk of the incorporation of the latest technological breakthroughs from both Altairnano and PML Flightlink. There was boasting of Tesla Roadster-like performance and whispers of a Ferrari-like price tag.
Since then, nothing. Had it been a figment of our collective imagination? Had they shuffled off this mortal coil or were they merely just pining for the fjords? Unlike other companies in the process of developing electric cars, there have not been company blogs keeping everyone up to date on the latest technological development or thoughts and musings of its founders and monied investors. No daily avalanche of press releases, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. There hasn't even been so much as a drizzle of debate on internet forums as to whether the company is legit or its product is vaporware. There has only been a kind of unsettling silence that has kept me repeatedly scurrying back to their website or doing the occasional Google news search for any signs of recent respiratory activity. That is, until now.
Now, not only is there a press release to confirm that The Lightning Car Company still lives but there are new
[Source: The Lightning Car Company via EV World]
Still with me? Good. So, are the fancy PML Flightlink Hi-Pa Drive™ in-wheel motors and the Altairnano NanoSafe™ rechargeable, nano titanate battery still part of the high performance equation? Yes and yes. Both are mentioned not only in the press release, but also throughout the newly updated website. Amber Composites, the company reported to be doing the Carbon fibre/Kevlar® composite bodywork incorporating the aluminum honeycomb crushable impact cells, is also still associated with the project. And what about that performance? Have they fudged on their original acceleration and range figures? No and no. They are still claiming a sub 4 second 0-60 time and a 250-mile range although, of course, the web site still states that they, "reserve the right to change the design and specification without prior notice."
While the technology and performance expectations remain the same, the body design sure has changed. Goodbye Sean Connery. Hello Daniel Craig. The new look is sleeker and more powerful than the original yet still retains that sense of British class that makes it seem worth the £150,00 price tag. And not only has the skin changed, the chassis itself has been revised. Something to do, I'm sure, with a decisive move away from the petrol-engined origins of the original model.
Hopefully we'll get more news from these blokes before another nine months rolls by. Lots more. And by "more," I mean details from actual road testing as well as the extension of an invitation to this writer to grip its wheel and tromp on its go-fast pedal. Until then, head up, pip pip and all that.
NEWS RELEASE - FEBRUARY 08 - ELECTRIC LIGHTNING GT DESIGN REVEALED
In June 2007, The Lightning Car Company announced its intent to develop electric technology for a luxury
British sports car – the Lightning GT. Today sees the unveiling of its evolutionary design. This super car with its outstanding presence & performance is set to put British sports car innovation well and truly back on the map. Designed to accommodate the latest battery and motor technology and reflect its 100% electric power and performance, the electric Lightning prototype is being hand-built by a small team of passionate British engineers, designers and collaborators. Whilst the rest of the automotive world engages in the hybrid, hydrogen or electric debate, the Lightning Car Company firmly believes its 100% Electric Lightning GT will help kick start the market for performance EV's.
Without a significant positive shift in perception, electric motoring will remain a huge compromise in the eyes of driving enthusiasts and therefore fail to impress the masses. Our vision is shared by the world's biggest car maker, General Motors, who believes the global oil supply has peaked and a switch to electric cars is inevitable...
The design team has created a successor to the petrol Lightning GT. Combining the spirit, heritage,
individuality and drama of the original car with a dynamic and contemporary design language moves it into a new era and, in doing so, embraces the new technologies and innovative architecture that reside beneath its skin. Subtle creases, positive and negative sections add a sense of strength and finesse to the dramatic surfaces of the car while retaining an understated, yet distinctive British Grand Tourer aesthetic. The Lightning's interior will also be designed to complement the unique electric driving experience.
With the build of the prototype well underway, we should see how this translates into the 'real thing' during the second half of 2008. The electric Lightning GT and Sports versions are now available to pre-order and deposits of £15,000 are being accepted.
For further print ready images please download from the press area on our website
[Source: Lightning Car Company]