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Lightning GT

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by tonybelding, Jun 11, 2007.

  1. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Check the website on this one. . .

    http://www.lightningcarcompany.com/

    The claimed performance numbers seem almost copied directly from Tesla: 0-60 MPH acceleration in 4 seconds, top speed 130 MPH, 250 miles per charge.  However, some of the underlying technology is different.

    It uses multiple wheel motors supplied by PML Flightlink, same as used in their Mini QED demonstration vehicle, and same that Zap say they are planning to use in the ZAP-X.  The website doesn't specify, but I'm assuming four wheel drive, as that would allow them to reach the stated 700+ horsepower.  One might well ask. . .   With four motors and 700+ horsepower, why aren't the performance specs much *better* than the Tesla Roadster?  I suspect the culprit is the single gear ratio.  It can't be optimized for hard acceleration from a standing start, it can't be optimized for maximum top speed, it has to span the whole gamut.

    The use of Nanosafe batteries is interesting, because they supposedly don't have the energy density of standard Li-ion cells.  It'll be interesting to see if they can really achieve 250 miles range per charge.

    In terms of styling, I have to say the car really looks fantastic -- sort of like an anglicized Corvette or Viper.  The only thing I would quibble with are the two "swollen" looking humps behind the cabin, but otherwise I think it looks perhaps even better than the Roadster.  I noted it has a two-piece removable hard top, and I wonder if that's the same thing as T-tops?

    Development status is a big question. . .   EV World suggested that several "petrol" prototypes were produced, and one of the gallery photos of the interior shows a prominent shifter knob.  So I wonder. . .  Is this some sort of dodgy kit car like the Mullen GT?  Or is this a startup sports car maker who began working with a gasoline engine, then made a sudden strategic decision to turn their baby into an electric car?

    The company is taking pre-orders, but there's nothing about cost or a delivery schedule.  I do hope it gets made and mets the promised specs -- then the Brits can stop complaining about not being able to buy Roadsters, and it will further legitimize the whole electric car business.
     
  2. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Re: Lightning GT sports car in Britain!

    Oh, and one more thing. . . . .

    From what I read on the website, they really are going to have externals speakers and programmable simulated engine noises.    :p ::)
     
  3. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Re: Lightning GT sports car in Britain!

    No working prototype -> all figures are pure PR
    No production plant -> single-digit annual production at best
    35kW battery -> for 4 120kW wheel motors?

    Sellable product in one year? Yeah, right...

    This is a publicity stunt in search for investors. It is only doing harm to the image of real usable electric cars.
     
  4. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Re: Lightning GT sports car in Britain!

    WarpedOne, I do believe your cynicism is showing. ;)

    So, it's possible that maybe they are just fishing for investors. If Dr. Robert Bell is right about "the green bubble", they might actually find some.
     
  5. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Re: Lightning GT sports car in Britain!

    Looks like the same DNA as TVR.
     
  6. danny

    danny Administrator

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    Re: Lightning GT sports car in Britain!

    I prefer the "mid engine, or mid battery" approach by tesla.
     
  7. danny

    danny Administrator

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    Re: Lightning GT sports car in Britain!

    Any weight numbers on this car? 700hp and only 4 seconds from an electric car(remember electric means high power from low rpm)???
    Sounds strange, lets see what they do from here.
     
  8. DDB

    DDB Member

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    New EV sports car has been announced in England. This thing uses the Altair batteries and charges in 10 minutes, supposedly. Problem is, nobody will be able to afford one. See article pasted below; see link for picture:

    http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/06/uk_company_intr.html#comment-72494450

    -Dave

    UK Company Introduces Electric Sportscar with Altairnano Battery Pack; More Models Planned
    12 June 2007
    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.
     
  9. DDB

    DDB Member

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  10. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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  11. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Oh What a Tangled Web. . . . .

    Oh, now this is interesting.  As I dig through the corporate information of those websites, I learn that. . . . .

    Ronart Cars Ltd was founded in 1987 by Arthur Wolstenholme and has produced "over 100 cars" since.

    In 2003 Wolstenholme licensed "the famous and highly regarded historic Vanwall name" (which I have never heard of, but apparently Colin Chapman worked for Vanwall in the 1950s before forming Lotus) from Dana Corporation, who apparently had earlier gotten it in acquisition of Vandervell Bearings, and thus Vanwall Cars was formed.

    Ronart and Vanwall remain joined at the hip, with Vanwall manufacturing cars for Ronart.  Both still have their own distinct websites, but both are advertising basically the same products, and both companies are operating from the same physical address.

    Arthur Wolstenholme is also being quoted as a spokesman (title not provided) for Lightning Car Company.

    My conclusion. . . . .

    LIghtning Car is simply an outgrowth from Vanwall in much the same way that Silence is an outgrowth from Campagna.  I might hazard a guess that the only reason why Lightning is set up as a new company is for liability purposes, so if something goes badly wrong with the business it won't necessarily drag down Vanwall with it.

    This is not a "scam" in the sense of somebody who's got a kit car and an impressive-looking (made up) feature list or spec sheet, and is spinning a fairy tale for investors.  Wolstenholme has obviously been in this business for a while.  On the other hand, this is not a company with the ability or the ambition to ever mass-produce cars the way Tesla are planning to do.  (Vanwall is also not a company that could ever exist in the USA, since we don't have all the regulatory exemptions for car makers with very low production numbers, as they do in the U.K.)
     
  12. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    So more in class with Venturi Fetish...
     
  13. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Keep in mind that the UK is filled with many smaller "boutique" car makers. It isn't like the USA where only the big survive.

    For instance, who had heard of "Ariel" until Ian used their "Atom" chassis as the basis for his Wrightspeed X1?

    The UK also had loads of "microbreweries" well before they became popular in the states.
    Did you know that there are "Whitestar" and "Darkstar" breweries in the UK? :

    http://www.whitestarbrewery.com/
    http://www.darkstarbrewing.co.uk/
     
  14. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    Me for sure but I did meet a work-friend who I had not seen in a while and as we were riding in his Mini Cooper I asked him what his favorite car would be. ( A standard opening line for me to talk about the Tesla) He said his favorite car was the Ariel Atom and suprisingly (to me anyway) he had never heard of Ian's car...
     
  15. danny

    danny Administrator

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    I had driven one before i heard of the X1 ;D. I first found out about it here on top gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaWoo82zNUA
     
  16. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    Jalopnik also covered the news today. Best comment was from TomAnderson who wrote: "Is it just me or does it look like it's sucking a lemon from the front?"

    Yep. Now that you mention it.
     
  17. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

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    Something I just wrote to the Tesla blog:

    # Brian Franz wrote on June 17th, 2007 at 11:02 pm
    ## How would you compare the Tesla Roadster to the Lightning GTS?
    ## I would love to see these two EVs head-to-head! www.lightningcarcompany.com/

    Guesses:

    Tesla = USA Only (For now)
    Lightning = UK Only (For now)

    Tesla = Rear Wheel Drive
    Lightning = All Wheel Drive

    Tesla = Ultra light weight spartan ultra sports cars. (More emphasis on crisp handling by way of light weight)
    Lightning = “Grand Touring” luxury sports car. (More emphasis on cabin comfort)

    Tesla = Batteries in mid/rear
    Lightning = Batteries in the mid/front (Slightly less ideal IMHO)

    Tesla = 248hp (185kW)
    Lightning = ~650hp (~480kW)

    With Tesla Roadster you get 200+ mile range and 0-60 in about 4 seconds.
    With Lightning GT you have to pick one or the other
    Lightning GTS Sport model= 0-60 in about 4, range = ??? (~130 my guess) 35kW battery pack?
    Lightning GTSE extended range model = 0-60 in ??? (~5.5 my guess), range = more than 200. 70kW battery pack?

    AltairNano batteries are reported to be very expensive. The Lightning models (particularly the GTSE) might cost a lot more than the Tesla roadster.

    I also wonder if the PML Flightlink drive system used by Lightning (and Zap-X) is ever going to meet USA safety standards.

    I suspect that the Tesla roadster is a bit further along in development. The specs on the Lightning could change as it gets closer to production.
    To some degree, the success of Tesla is causing a new marketing opportunity for “boutique” vehicle manufacturers to just announce that they will add PML Flightlink drivetrain, then start taking deposits to complete the development.
     
  18. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Somewhere I saw 300.000 USD or UK pounds as suggested price for "base" version.
     
  19. iisjsmith

    iisjsmith Member

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    Well they must be doing something with a gearbox, because on the PML Flightlink website they list the HPD40 with a maximum speed of 2000rpm.

    http://www.pmlflightlink.com/motors/hipa_drive.html

    Otherwise that's a mighty nice motor. 750Nm 120kW and only 25kg.
     
  20. WarpedOne

    WarpedOne Supreme Premier

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    Gearbox? There ain't any. I guess only posibility are some internal reduction gears, for which in hub motors there is no room.
    Has anyone found internal diagram of these hub motors? It would be interesting to see what magic produces such nice numbers.
     

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