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Electric sportscar can be recharged in ten minutes

23 July, 2008

At the British International Motor Show, held in London, a UK car manufacturer has unveiled an electric sportscar that can reach 96km/h (60mph) in four seconds, powered by four in-wheel motors, and uses a novel high-energy-density battery technology that can be recharged in just ten minutes.

Electric Lightning

The Electric Lightning GT, being developed by the Peterborough-based Lightning Car Company, will develop around 520kW (700 bhp) from its four wheel-hub motors, developed by Hampshire-based PML Flightlink. The motors, which have built-in drive electronics, are said to have a power density up to 20 times higher than conventional machines. The Hi-Pa Drive motors each weigh 25kg and can develop 750Nm of torque.

The motors will be powered by 30 lithium-titanate batteries developed by a US company, Altairnano. They are said to be more stable than alternative battery technologies and to have a useful life of at least 12 years, compared to 3–5 years for rival technologies. After 15,000 charge cycles, the batteries will still retain up to 85% of their original charge, according to Altairnano.

The batteries can be recharged in just ten minutes if a three-phase supply is available, or overnight using a single-phase domestic supply.

The car will have no gearboxes, differentials, axles, drive shafts or propshafts, eliminating mechanical complexity and power transmission losses. Servicing and maintenance requirements are expected to be low.

The Electric Lightning is predicted to have a top speed of around 210 km/h (130 mph) and a range of about 400km. It is planned to go on sale next year at a price in the range £120,000–150,000.

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