Ride The Lightning

As oil becomes more expensive, it is becoming apparent that the most efficient method of powering our cars is electricity. An electric car is not only more efficient in the use of energy than a gasoline car, it is agnostic to the source of electricity and will therefore be relatively immune to the fluctuations in fuel price that afflict cars powered by a distinct type of fuel, i.e. gasoline, diesel, or natural gas. The problem with the electric car is that they typically have a limited range, take a long time to recharge, are underpowered, and look more like a an eco-fashion statement than a car.  All of that may be about to change.  Pictured above is the Lightning GT from the UK automotive company Lightning.  The Lightning GT is an electric car that is powered by four electric motors, one at each wheel, that combine for 700 hp.  It does zero to sixty in four seconds. The Lightning GT has 30 batteries made of lithium-titanate nanoparticles, which give the car an advertised range of over 185 miles and take only 10 minutes to recharge. 185 miles is far less than a gasoline engine but it is further than most people drive in a day. Since you can recharge it at home, visiting a gas station will be a thing of the past except on longer trips where drivers will have to stop every 185 miles or so to recharge for 10 minutes.  The GT Lightning is expected to be available in early 2009 at a price of about $250,000, so it is not exactly economical.  However, I remember when a CD player cost $10,000.  Hopefully volume production and maturation of the technology will drive the cost of a car like the Lightning GT down to a price competitive with an internal combustion engine car.

UPDATE: Motortrend has reported that the Lightning GT has a range of 250 miles. If true, that is an impressive range on par with many internal combustion engine vehicles.  Most likely, Motortrend has their facts wrong.  Nonetheless, the possibility that it is accurate makes it worth a mention.