|The Lightning GT.|
A UK-based car company is introducing an all-electric luxury sportscar powered by an Altair Nanotechnologies lithium-ion battery pack and PML Flightlink in-wheel motors. The Lightning Car Company (LCC) is targeting a range for its Lightning GT models of approximately 250 miles and a top speed of 130 mph or 150 mph.
The top speed, according to the company, is a function of the motor. This can be manufactured to suit at the expense of acceleration, which in the GTS model is 0-60 mph in 4 seconds.
The electric Lightning uses a 35 kWh battery pack with 30 Altairnano large-format NanoSafe batteries. These are currently similar to the batteries used in the Phoenix Motorcars all-electric sport utility truck (SUT). However, LCC plans to change to the higher spec cells in development. Lightning developed the drive system, charge and management system. As to a warranty for the pack, LCC says that it is in discussion with Altairnano.
Lightning Car Company did not consider taking the Tesla approach by assembling a battery pack from thousands of commodity small format 18650 cells. The company believes that approach to be a “backward step”, with safety concerns, lower performance, and manufacturing and technical complexity.
We believe Altairnano and their battery technology is leading the world. The issue, however, is purely cost as we do not have tax credits here in UK for our vehicles.—Arthur Wolstenholme, Lightning Car Company
Altairnano batteries can be recharged in 10 minutes, as recently verified for Phoenix Motorcars and the California Air Resources Board by AeroVironment. The Lightning cars require no thermal management or dedicated cooling system for the battery pack. The motor units are cooled using onboard cooling systems.
The car uses four 120 kW Hi-Pa HPD40 electric wheel motors from PML Flightlink. The Hi-Pa Drive unit combines the motor and drive electronics in a single package. The units offer full regenerative braking down to very low speed, full holding torque at zero speed, a built-in brake resistor (for full charge regeneration situation), and a wide speed range. (These are the same in-wheel units used by PML Flightlink in the prototype plug-in series hybrid conversion of a MINI, the MIN QED. Earlier post.)
Each HPD40 drive unit offers maximum torque of 750 Nm (533 lb-ft). The torque curve is relatively flat, dropping off to around 600Nm at top speed.
The body for the Lightning GT is built from a combination of carbon fiber and Kevlar.
The price for the extended and top of the range models is around £150,000 (US$296,000). The company is taking reservations for 2008 delivery. The company also says that it is also planning other types of electric cars, but that it cannot comment further at this point.
(A hat-tip to Yves!)