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UK Company Introduces Electric Sportscar with Altairnano Battery Pack; More Models Planned

Lightning
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!)

Comments

shigley

Hey, the rich playboys have gotta drive something, so it might as well be an EV.

Red Skelton

I am saving up for one right now,I should have the Sales Tax saved up in about 12 Years,IF the Sales Tax don't go up,and if I live long enough.
It will be awful nice to have hundreds of Charging Stations everywhere for mine and the three other Cars that will be sold here.

Ben

It works like this: rich people buy it -> company is profitable -> company increase size makes factories -> mass production increases -> it gets cheaper -> more people buy it /\ cycle feeds back!

at least in theory.

hampden wireless

This is interesting but nothing compared to the Tesla. The Tesla's price is within the range of many doctors and lawyers and other people who want a flashy car. BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and even Cadilac sell $100,000 cars.

Tesla is set up to sell this car first then make a cheaper sedan using lessons learned. The feedback process of lower price is designed into thier plans. I don't think you will see lightning even venture into the sub $100,000 market if they even survive.

eliot

Tesla is already working on a 4 door sedan prototype (called the Whitestar) to compete with BMW, I believe its the 5 series. It's expected date is 2010 with a price of about half of the Roadster. The third generation protoype is tenatively planned for 2012-2015 with an expected pricetag in the $30,000 range. That 3rd generation should in theory be marketable to a vast majority of the population as the average car price (entire fleet) is averaging in the high 20s low 30s.

gr

The cost of the first release of a stand alone compact disc player: $1,650.00. Average cost of a stand alone CD player today: $39.95.

What better way to demonstrate high capacity EV batteries than a niche market like this? Let's hope a few of these Lightenings find their way into the public spotlight so as to tweak public imagination. Perhaps the builders of this vehicle are less interested in net profits and more interested in pressing the global benefit of EV technology into today's consciousness. Good intent can be well rewarded.

Domenick

That's a nice looking car. Looks like it has a much more luxurious cockpit than the Tesla, better batteries and motors. Of course it's more expensive. I'll never own one but it's good to see someone using in-wheel motors and the fast charging battery. This is the configuration of the future.
I hope Prince Charles has an order in for some of these. (Prince Charles because of his public profile. There are lots of Brits who could afford this.)

Freddy

Tesla: Your initial lead is wearing thin... Although Tesla electric drive train is quite possibly the best there is (although PML 120KW, 25 Kg motors are actually more power dense) Tesla is desperately hanging on to a substandard battery technology that was supposed to solve a problem that no longer exists (Altair and A123 Systems batteries put an end to the thermal management problem by dramatically decreasing the batteries internal resistance). Tesla still argues that the price is prohibited but so is the price of adopting the wrong battery technology. This is extremely dangerous for Tesla since they still have not put one car on the road. When all is said and done, I am afraid Tesla will go down in history as the first company that prove that electric cars can indeed outperform the ICE but fail to "Change Course" fast enough to ensure their product remained competitive long enough to grow with demand. Of course, Tesla CEO Martin Eberhard can always put Altair Nano and/or A123 Systems on speed dial to tip the scales on his favor.

mds

More advanced battery and in wheel drive system, but three times the cost of the Tesla Roadster. Interesting. Hey they have a nice web site. Must be a serious company. ;-) Tesla marketing strategy does make sense to me. This is same thing here, but on steroids. I'm no marketing guy, but studies say there is this kind of money for space travel business. Why not for high EVs? Then again, ouch? Will be interesting to see.

Van

Like the Volt and Tesla, this seems to be vaporware. Toyota is going to make a 2009 Prius that will get close to 60 MPG and sell for less than $25,000. I expect A123's Hymotion will sell a PHEV conversion for it by 2010, for about $10,000. And by 2011, I expect Toyota will market a PHEV for less than $30,000. If we are ready with an adequate supply of biofuel and non-fossil fuel generated electricty, we can end our dependence on foreign oil and significantly reduce our CO2 emmissions from fossil fuel in less than 5 years.

Who needs vaporware??

NeilPackrat

It would be an exaggeration to call the Tesla vaporware. They are up to production prototypes. At the very least you should characterize them as liquidware even if they aren't completely solid yet.

Chris

Beauty! Now competition will lower the prices.

Its Kurtins

Looks like the Govenator is stepping up to the plate in support of the Tesla. Cal is very interested in the third generation project. Though even the higher priced cars will have an impact out here. GM's efforts are so second rate and behind the times they seem laughable. A car that can barely keep up with traffic and with such a limited range? We will see GM go into bankruptcy before either of these other companies.

esha

pls let us know if a tie up regarding batteries is possible and let us know the the details of batteries manufacturer

esha

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want to know the details of batteries manufacturers
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