Never has there been a more appropriately named car than the Lightning: it's super fast and it's fully electric. That's right -- this bad boy runs entirely on rechargeable batteries. It'll put your dad's Ferrari to shame, too.
We gave the Lightning a good once over at the recent British International Motor Show and we're smitten. Just look at it: there's none of that stupid quirkiness that seems to be a prerequisite of other electric vehicles. And why should there be? Just because a car runs on batteries doesn't mean it's okay for it to look like a toy. We're looking at you, G-Wiz and, to a certain extent, you, Mr Smart ED, if that is your real name.
Unlike most electric cars that use a single electric motor, the Lightning uses four separate motors -- one in each wheel. The idea is that all the available power is placed directly into the wheel -- none is lost in the gearbox or drive shaft before it reaches your smoking tires. You can reach 0-100km/h in about four seconds and a top speed of around 209km/h is promised.
Power in the Lightning is generated by 30 large lithium-titanium batteries, unlike the Tesla, which uses thousands of tiny lithium-ion cells. These are about the size of a standard car battery and are situated low in the car to give it a low centre of gravity and good weight distribution.
Driven sensibly, the car is said to have a range of around 320km. A full recharge can be done at your home, place of work, or at a public recharging point in about 8 hours. But its makers claim the Lightning can be recharged in approximately 10 minutes -- if you can find a three-phase power outlet. Unfortunately, most domestic outlets are single phase, but in the future, what's to say this situation won't change.
As with all electric cars, the Lightning is exempt from road tax and from London's congestion charge. This should save you around £2,200 a year, which you're going to need to help pay for this car. If you're lucky enough to have £150,000 in your bank account and have the patience to wait until 'sometime in 2009', then get over to the Lightning Web site and pre-order one. If not, then have a look at the awesome photos we took, mop up your saliva and come back next week to watch our video. -Rory Reid
Jeez, just look at this thing. It makes you want to strip all your clothes off and writhe all over it. It's so shiny and sexy. It looks like a cross between a Jaguar XKR and a Ford GT, don't you think?
Here it is from another, equally sexy angle. Those 20-inch rims won't make it on to the final model due to their extreme weight, but the Lightning Car Company will source special lightweight wheels that will hopefully look just as lovely.
Here's the interior. Note the two-tone dead cow on the seats and the aluminium-effect on the centre console. Trust us when we say the luxury levels are pretty obscene.
Best foot pedals in the world? You bet your life. The accelerator has a lovely "+", and the brake, a "-", like you might find on a set of ordinary batteries. Whoever thought of this should be given a payrise -- it's genius.
If you want proof the car is British-built, take a look at the door sills. That's a Union Jack flag sitting next to the Lightning livery -- again, a nice touch.
Here's the cockpit. Note the blue lights everywhere and the obscene level of sexiness. If there's another electric car in the world that looks as nice as this, we've yet to see it.
The circular, digital speedometer is on the small side, but we're not complaining. When we inevitably get stopped by the rozzers for speeding, we'll use it as an excuse to help us avoid getting a ticket.
Here's the stereo. It plays MP3s, CDs and the radio. Most importantly though, it has a massive touchscreen attached to it, so using the sat-nav shouldn't be very difficult.
We're not sure what sort of speakers these are, but it's pretty much irrelevant. Even if they're not very good, you won't struggle to hear them above the noise of a traditional combustion engine.
The power button and the gear selector live on the centre console. Here, you'll also find the electric windows -- which, bizarrely, is a rare feature on an electric car.
Glowing 'petrol' caps? Yes, please. This is where you connect the Lightning to an electrical power outlet.
Now watch our video of the Lightning car