Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Electric car wars at London Motor Show

Well the age of the electric car is definitely here and there is no denying it if you have been to the London International Motor Show. Lightning Car automakers have revealed their Lightning GT, the first British all electric sports car with zero emissions that can go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds, and has a top speed of more than 130 mph.

Its performance is impressive, beating the Jaguar 4.2 XKR by 1 second in the 0-60 challenge, and providing 700+ bhp, in comparison to the Jaguar's 420 bhp. It is also far more impressive than the current top selling hybrid, Toyota's Prius, which does 0-60 in more than 10 seconds and only gives you 76 bhp. It also receives an A in its green rating, which puts your carbon offset cost at £0.0, my favourite price, and that is only the beginning of where it saves you money. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on one of these beauties, it would cost you 2.2 pence per mile, you would save £300 on road tax, £1,920 in congestion charges from 48 working weeks, and another £10,000 if it is a company car through lower company car tax and company fuel benefit tax.

But there is of course its competitor, Tesla Motors' Roadster, and it does have a few evident advantages. For one thing, it is already in production and the company aims to be popping 100 of these babies a month by December. Then there is the range it can travel. The Lightning GT can do 200 miles per charge in comparison to the Tesla Roadster's 220.

But perhaps the biggest difference is the price. The Tesla Roadster is shipping for about $100,000 (around £50,000) and that is a huge difference to the Lightning GT, which has a £15,000 deposit just to preorder. The estimated price tag will be somewhere around £135,000, more than twice what the Roadster costs.

There are only two characteristics that can tip the scales in favour of the Lightning GT and those are its longevity and British pride. Lightning Car claims that the batteries in the car will last up to 12 years before you have to replace them, and maintain 85% capacity after 15,000 charges. Unfortunately the websites for each car provide information relevant to their market (US and UK) which makes it difficult for a more detailed comparison. In my mind, with such a high price tag it does really all come down to British pride. This is a beautiful piece of machinery, just like its competitor, but lets see if pride in our country's own product will be enough to make it viable.


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