Lightning GT Puts British Curves On EVs

The fast, tricked-out electric sports car category is getting a little crowded. There’s Tesla, which qualifies as the old stalwart here because it actually has a vehicle on the market. And Li-ion just this month showed off the INZIO, which it says will be available sometime in 2011. Now the Lightning Car Company has announced it intends to raise 15.5 million pounds ($25 million) and bring its Grand Tourer to production by early 2012.

In a press release, Lightning says the GT will be “one of, if not the fasted” electric vehicles on the market, going from zero to sixty in under five seconds and with a top speed of 125 mph. Impressive, but actually a little laggard compared with Tesla, whose Roadster Sport did a confirmed 3.7 zero-to-sixty, while Li-ion claims a 3.4 for its INZIO.

Lightning GT, British electric sports car

image via Lightning Car Company

But the Lightning does have something that some sports car aficionados — those with a thing for James Bond — might find irresistible: It’s British. And that’s a big part of the brand identity Lightning is trying to build. As the press release says: “The Lightning GT was conceived to bring together classic British styling with world leading engineering under an evocative ‘made in Britain’ brand that sets a new benchmark for luxurious design, build and performance.”

Lightning said it has already booked deposits totaling 3 million pounds ($4.8 million) based on an early, 2008 prototype, and expects to make 250 of the cars per year once production kicks in. The vehicle will reportedly be priced at a rather staggering 180,000 pounds ($288,000).

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.