Lightning strikes Tesla at London motor show

British automaker Lightning Car unveils an all-electric sports car called the Electric Lightning GT. It is comparable to Tesla's Roadster, though it recharges much faster.

A new all-electric GT sports car was revealed by automaker Lightning Car at the British International Motor Show on Tuesday.

The Electric Lightning GT is an all-electric car with no emissions that can accelerate to speeds "over 130 mph," according to company specs.

The guilt-free sports car is poised to be a competitor to Tesla Motors' 135 mph-riding Tesla Roadster , which began production in mid-July in the United States.

The Lightning GT at its unveiling Tuesday at the British International Motor Show. Lightning Car

The Lightning GT can go from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds, just like the Tesla Roadster, and has a range of 200 miles per charge, compared to Tesla's 220-mile range.

The Lightning GT has a technological advantage over the Roadster, or so it seems, depending on whether recharge time is an issue for owners. The company says the car takes 10 minutes to recharge, if charged from a three-phase power supply (those found in industrial buildings, compared to the residential single phase). The Tesla Roadster has an estimated 3.5-hour charge time from a residential outlet.

The Lightning GT's motors are in the wheels. Lightning Car

The company claims that its 30 onboard 10-minute charge batteries, NanoSafe batteries supplied by the Phoenix-based AltairNano company, can last up to 12 years before needing to be replaced. The NanoSafe batteries will also still maintain a charge capacity of 85 percent after 15,000 charges, according to Lightning Car.

But that impatience tax is steep. The Lightning GT, available for preorder with a 15,000-pound ($30,000) deposit, is estimated to sell for between 120,000 pounds and 150,000 pounds (roughly between $240,000 and $300,000), according to reports. Lightning Car promises a 2009 delivery and offers customization service that includes a "made to measure" interior, as well as any minor body style requests.

U.S. drivers, however, will have to wait. The company said in a statement that it has applied for certification requirements to sell the car in the United States but has not yet gotten federal approval.

The car's drive train includes what the company calls "Hi-Pa Drive" technology (the British and their puns), a system of four 120-kilowatt power motors located inside each wheel of the car that can make 700 horsepower.

The Lighting GT also has all the accoutrement you'd expect with your sports car, including traction control, an entertainment system, tinted windows, and LED lights. Being electric, it also offers regenerative braking, a system in which your car is given a charge every time you brake. As is customary among British car manufacturers, air conditioning is optional, not standard. Built-in satellite navigation is also optional.

The British International Motor Show is open to the public July 23 to August 3 at the ExCel exhibition center in London.

While luxury favorites like the Hummer are on display, it's the green cars generating buzz as must-sees at this year's show.

Lightning Car
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About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.

 

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