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Electric sports cars from Europe delayed

Crikey! Will this generation of middle-aged men be deprived of a mid-life crisis car before retirement hits?

France's Fetish and the Great Britain's Lightning GTS promise to be two of the fastest cars on the market. That is, as soon as the companies can get them out of the factory.

The Fetish, an all-electric sports car touted by France's Venturi for the last several years, won't be hitting the market until 2009, according to Autoblog Green. It was supposed to come out this month, and before that reports circulated that it would come out in 2005. Venturi first showed off the concept--the "first desirable electric vehicle" according to the company--at the Paris Auto Show in 2004 and has been trotting a prototype around the globe.

Oh, behave! Lightning

The car will go from zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds and cost over $450,000. Although you can't buy it now, you can buy a toy replica on the company's web site for 32 Euros. The company is also selling a limited edition carbon fiber longboard skateboard for 480 Euros. Not sure if it's crash tested for the U.S. yet.

Venturi's situation is a common one for electric car makers. Getting a car to market--considering all of the testing, design issues, and battery breakthroughs required--isn't easy. Tesla Motors experienced delays and it was one of the largest, best-organized and best-funded start-ups. Compared to these other guys, Tesla is like GM.

Meanwhile, across the channel, Lightning is taking deposits for its all-electric Lightning GTS for commercial delivery in 2009. Earlier, delivery was slated for 2008. The car uses batteries from Altair Nanotechnologies, which recently swapped out its CEO. The Lightning will have a hub motor, which is a great idea on paper that engineers have struggled to make a reality. The company claims that the car will go 250 miles on a charge, hit 130 miles an hour, and can be recharged in 10 minutes; 250 miles won't be easy to hit, but the 10-minute charge time could be even tougher, judging by comments from battery experts and what other electric car makers say.

But check out the Union Jack license plate. If they put in a goofy foot gas pedal, I'm sold.