Monday 11th June 2007


LIGHTNING STRIKE

New English and electric sportscar

The Lightning GT
The Lightning GT
A British car company has unveiled ambitious plans to create a new high performance sportscar powered by electric motors.

The Lightning Car Company GT is powered by four, hub mounted electric motors claimed to produce at least 700bhp in total. Each motor has a maximum torque rating at the wheel of 553lb ft, available virtually from zero rpm.

The firm is aiming to produce three models: the regular ‘GT’; the lighter ‘GTS’ version that should do 0-60mph in under four seconds, and the longer range ‘GTSE’ said to do over 250 miles. Recharging the Lightning takes just 10 minutes.

The Lightning is said to achieve this impressive level of durability thanks to its cutting edge battery technology and systems.

GT is powered by 4 electric motors
GT is powered by 4 electric motors
It uses Nanosafe batteries from Altairnano Inc which have been in development since the start of the decade. The batteries use nano titanate materials instead of graphite which, the makers claim, makes them far more thermally stable - there are no toxics or heavy metals used in them.

Their life expectancy is up to 12 years, versus the three-five year life of other batteries, and they can retain up to 85% charge capacity after 15,000 charges.  With instantaneous power even at extreme temperatures, NanoSafe batteries claim to deliver power per unit weight and unit volume several times that of conventional Lithium-Ion batteries.

These batteries power a motor system branded as Hi-Pa Drive and sourced from a company called PML Flightlink Ltd.

Hi-Pa Drive integrates the motor and drive electronics in one single unit. It claims to produce an ultra high power density - up to 20 times more than conventional systems.

Over 700bhp is claimed
Over 700bhp is claimed
The compact, energy-efficient, electric wheel motors are said to produce unrivalled levels of torque with internal heavy-duty tapered roller bearings that can withstand heavy radial loads for robust use. Other features include total weather proofing, total energy transfer and several levels of redundancy, so any single failure will not prevent the vehicle from operating safely.

Upon braking, the Lightning reverses its electric motor turning it into an electric generator, creating electricity which is fed back into the battery and stored for future use. In fact any time an electric vehicle decelerates it causes the system to use the vehicle's momentum to generate electricity.

Carbon fibre body
Carbon fibre body
Despite the cutting edge technology contained inside, the Lightning utilises a ‘1960’s British GT- esque’ shape. The car has been in very low series production recently with a Mustang Cobra V8 motor, but the final petrol-powered Lightning is being finished at the moment, and the company will concentrate on electric power from now on.

The chassis is a monocoque structure made from aluminium honeycomb sections with a carbon fibre body assembled around it at the same time. The suspension is hung from tubular structures attached to the main body.

The GT is a big car at nearly 4.5m long and around 2m wide. Nevertheless, the firm claims a kerbweight of around 1350kg.

Interiors finished to order
Interiors finished to order
Lightning are aiming to have the first car ready for evaluation at the end of the year with customer orders being taken for 2008. Not much word on prices yet, but expect a top of the range GTSE to cost circa £150,000.

Can a small company really achieve so much at the cutting edge of technology? We'll be watching...

http://www.lightningcarcompany.com/

Author: adam towler
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