back to article Blighty's electro-supercar 2.0 uncloaked today

Here at the British Motor Show in London, there are lots and lots of cars to see. Quite a few of them have electric or part-electric power trains. A few of these use or plan to use advanced battery technologies such as lithium-ion. Only one has moved on further still, to a technology which promises genuinely usable electric cars …

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its 11:30am, and just looking at the website, you can see it now.

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds impressive but...

how far can it go on a full (or 80%) charge? If it's only as far as the next Tesco I'm less impressed than I might have been.

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Happy

LOL...

...their website says it comes with a:

"Programmable external engine sound generator".

Cool.

I want mine to sound like a Vespa.

Or Ivor The Engine.

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The games up!

Loks like the website went early, you can see it on there now.

Very pretty, but £120k?

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Electric cars = Total COCK!

Look, it's all very nice producing a super-duper leccy sports car or two, but tell me this...

Who is going to produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?

That, my friends, is what's known as 'real-life' motoring. Until then, you can shove your electric (and hybrid) cars where the sun don't shine!!

(BTW, Journey both ways, recently carried out, with an average speed of 60mph, and an average fuel consumption of 51mpg, diesel of course!)

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The saviour of the planet is here...

... and it costs only £120,000. A low enough price tag to ensure that the average Joe can once again be shafted by the rich "What are you doing to save the planet you filthy prole? I've just bought a Lightning and offset by private jet by spending half a million on Carbon Credits. I say, put down that pie you oik, don't you realise that pie was delivered to the supermarket in a CO2 guzzling lorry?"

Or something like that.

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Happy

Designed by petrolheads, not electrogeeks.

The petrol Lightning looks like a proper GT, so I'm hoping the Electric Lightning will be as good a bit of eyecandy and not look like the bastard child of a milkfloat and a campervan like the Prius does.. One worry would be that if they put the electric motors in the front wheels as well as the rears that the steering will be a bit heavy or lifeless. I suppose we'll have to wait for Jezza to drive it to get a really objective (and probably entertaining) view.

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Cross between ....

It looks like a cross between a Lotus Elise, and Chrysler Crossfire, but will obviously have the power and speed of a Prius!

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Hmmmm

Thanks to my brother's sound/lighting career, we have a three-phase socket coming out of our garage wall right underneath the main fusebox... Interesting...

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Happy

The battery's called WHAT?!

So it uses LI-TIT batteries? Neat! Perhaps Jeremy Clarkson should be their spokesman.

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Anonymous Coward

Charging cables

To recharge the battery in a few minutes the cables will have to be very thick or superconductive.

Imagine the car requires an average of 15hp to run - this is ~11kW - and it drives for say 3 hours discharging the battery. Then to recharge in say a couple of minutes will need around 100 times the power to go back in - i.e. ~1.1MW -

So at 1V this is 1.1MA, 10V, 110KA, 100V etc..

Obviously you could use higher voltages to reduce the current but then you would need a transformer onboard to handle 1.1MW.

How do they do it?.....

Anon in case it is obvious...

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Coat

So that'll be an English Electric Lightning...

Mine's the Mach 2 60's silver one....

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Coat

Pretty Car

Very impressive

How long till we see the Stig going round the Top Gear test track in one?

Mine's the one with the spare £120,000 in the pocket (I wish)

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According to my crap calculations...

...the 36kwh battery pack weighs 360kg and contains as much energy as about 3-4 litres of petrol/diesel.

Unsurprisingly, details about anticipated range are not easy to find.

Will be fun on a trackday, recharging after each couple of laps. Hopefully a trailer hitch will be an option, so you can tow the diesel generator.

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First production car with 4 in-wheel motors?

By Roni Leben

Posted Tuesday 22nd July 2008 11:44 GMT

Great job Lightning!

Hope they make it into production; Tesla is, sadly, still not there after 2+ years of delay...

A Subaru Impreza & PML's Mini used 4 in-wheel motors, but no production car yet (AFAIK). In PML's case they probably used their Mini to test the motors for the Lightning?

480kW @ wheels is very impressive. Assume "36Kw of power" for the battery should be 36kWh (of energy)?

Only (very small) minus I can think of: The car shows is a derivative from petrol engine version and it shows; it has a large forward engine bay which looks it could house a V12 ICE... With in-wheel motors, designers can be more innovative since engine bay is needless & the car design could be quite different. In-wheel motors + fast charge Li-ion is quite enough of boldness for now, so innovative design can wait till the next model.

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@Booty Inspector

I want mine to sound like a squadron of Lancasters.

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Range on one charge

It's not easy to find, but it's listed as 200 miles on a full charge.

On 'Home' > 'Electric vs. Petrol':

"True to its name, the Lightning GT could be charged in approximately 10 minutes for up to 200 miles of motoring, which would make long journeys a breeze."

Not sure long journeys would be 'a breeze', my daily commute is 120 miles...

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@ MahatmaCoat

I want to mute mine to save the battery?

:)

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@MahatmaCoat

Lancaster? Nah. Gotta be a Spitfire.

That luvly Merlin sound...........................

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@dervheid

Not sure I really understand your point. On such a journey, especially with kids in the car, you'll want to stop two or three times at least for lunch and to stretch your legs - so why does the car need to go that distance without refueling? You pull up at the motorway service station, connect to the charger then go and have your coffee and/or toilet break - by the time you get back it's fully charged and ready to go the next 200-300 miles.

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Car sound

Actually, what about a Tardis recording?

With a proximity detector triggering a good ol' Dalek "exterminate" when parked. Especially for parking wardens*.

*Lovely people actually; salt of the Earth.

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Anonymous Coward

Tools company used this technology

DeWalt has been using this tech for a while... great to actually see it in a car. http://www.dewalt.com/us/batterytech/default.htm

Now lets just hope that affordable car companies sees the light with this technology...

Paris, because the unspoken analogy...

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Sam
Happy

@MahatmaCoat

Nah, bagsy the Spitfire.

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RE:Electric cars = Total COCK!

Yes, because early petrol cars were owned by all. Also, your avrage car will not do that journy without a fillup. Dose that make all petrol cars and Motorbikes pointless?

As with everything, the price starts high for somthing crap, and then comes down, and the product gets better. Just look at Apple.

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Black Helicopters

I want mine to play...

...Ride of the Valkyries.

Black helicopter because... well, you know.

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Coat

@Booty Inspector

No i want mine to sound like a TIE Fighter!

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@dervheid

"Who is going to produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?"

Well, surely whilst you and the family are stopping to eat/go to the loo, the car can recharge? I mean we're only talking 10 minutes after all...

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When the pedal hits the metal

I thought it was only the hippies that needed lessons on the Laws of Thermodynamics. But it seem that in an age of "children first", all valorizations are to be taken care of by Santa Claus (aka the Fed to some grown-ups).

So when the peddle hits the mettle, then the poodles hit the noodles.

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Very pretty, but...

...is it real? Come back when there's a working demonstrator and then you can start making comparisons to the Tesla. Right now this is about as real as Doc Brown's Mr.Fusion-powered DeLorean.

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@Fluffykins & Sam

The Lancaster and the Spitfire both used Merlin engines...

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Cannot charge in 10 minutes

Assume 80% discharged, so need 29kWh to charge.

From a typical 400V 16A 3phase outlet this will take 156 minutes at 100% efficiency.

If could connect at 400V 200A 3phase you could do it in 13 minutes at 100% efficiency.

However, that would probably be about half the total connected supply of a supermarket, and more than the total supply to a typical garage forecourt. Apart from which, you couldn't lift the cable.

Somebody is talking absolute nonsense.

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Anonymous Coward

just out of curiosity

but could the batteries be charged whilst the vehicle was in motion in a similar manner to how the dynamo on my old bike made the lights work?

(anon because I am not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to this electrickery stuff)

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Lovely

I'd love one. Electric engines beat petrol ones in so many ways, it's only battery technology that holds them back. As for the range, hardly the point of a sports car is it? Watching an old Top Gear on Dave the other day, when Jeremy Clarkson was asked about the range of the GT40 he was buying it was 74 miles!

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Coat

@Fluffykins

You'd have to have either the daleks saying "KEEP BACK!" (series 1 of new lot, episode 6 "DALEK") rather than just EXTERMINATE.

Mine's the wheelchair-friendly black one with the cool chrome clips.

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Happy

Charge times.

Ten minutes on the forecourt with no petrol around? This could be just the catalyst we need to make smoking trendy again. A place to spend an enforced ten minutes with a roof to keep you dry and no walls to invoke the ban.

Every cloud has a silver lining.

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Sam

@David Evans

..and the Mossie had two, but out of 'em all I think the Spit sounds the most menacing.

Chocks away!

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Boffin

Good article

Having been a frequent past poster about electrified transport and alternative fuels, mostly disagreeing with the author, its nice to see Lewis is writing researched, informative and even reasonably balanced articles on electric cars .....

Ahhhhh. My work here is done!

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Coat

@ WWII plane geeks

There's no sound quite like the Battle of Britain memorial flight; it has three Merlin-powered planes *drool*

According to IckyPedia the following all used Merlins:

* Armstrong Whitworth Whitley

* Avro Lancaster

* Avro Lincoln

* Avro York

* Avro Tudor

* Boulton Paul Defiant

* Bristol Beaufighter

* Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk

* de Havilland Mosquito

* de Havilland Hornet

* Fairey Barracuda

* Fairey Battle

* Fairey Fulmar

* Handley Page Halifax

* Hawker Hurricane and Sea Hurricane

* Hispano Aviacion Ha 1112

* North American P-51 Mustang

* Short Sturgeon

* Supermarine Seafire

* Supermarine Spitfire

* Vickers Wellington

* Westland Welkin

Mine's the leather flying jacket, helmet and goggles.

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Can anyone do a proper calculation in ElReg? No!

Okay, I'll do it for you:

If the engine consumes N kW, and one recharge takes m minutes and lasts for d hours of driving, the recharge power needed is N x (d/m) x 60 kW.

Example: 20 kW, charge time 5 minutes, lasting for 4 hours of driving:

The recharge power P needed is 20x(4/5)x60 = 960 kW.

At 3x400 V, each Ampère delivers 1.2 kW. Meaning that for a recharge power P one needs a current I of P/1.2 Ampère. For a paltry 960 kW as above, 960/1.2 = 800 Ampère are needed.

For those weaklings in math, here is the combined formula for the current needed:

I = 20x(4/5)x60/1.2 (in Ampère). Good luck!

And here, finally, the diameters required to carry those currents:

1 cm of diameter of the copper core is good for around 200 A. Since we talk 3 phases here, 200 A need 3 wires, with 1 cm of copper core each. 800 A will be four times that, that is 4x3 = 12 wires of a core of 1 cm, plus insulation. No, seriously thicker cables won't do, because of some effect called skin-effect.

I'll leave it to someone else to calculate the weight of 12 copper cores of 1 cm diameter, including insulation. I bet, that half a meter of it will go through as murder weapon.

In short, the car of the future will need an 11kV-plug for fast recharge.

Have Fun!

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Coat

Remember this day...

...when they put up leccy top-ups to £30 per minute at the forecourts...

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10 minutes to recharge ?

Given how busy my local tescos is, I can see the queue for recharges stretching out over the horizon if it takes each one that long.

All these hybrids, fuel cells and leccy cars generally just prove how good Petrol and Diesel really are for transport uses.

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Happy

If Top Gear get their hands on one....

..... they will test it against a bloody milk float to see how many pints it will hold!!!

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Give a whole new meaning to car rage?

If it's got a speaker to play sounds can you imagine the sorts of "engine tones" people might want to put in it?

Crazy Frog anyone?

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Joke

Recharge times

To all who replied to my original in the same vein;

My point was that all these 'sports' and 'urban' (e.g. the G-Wiz) electro-cars are utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of the motoring populace, who require their car of choice to be far more than any of these offerings.

Thanks go to the various contributors for pointing out the "practicalities" of a 10 minute / 200 mile recharge.

And as for their 'green' credentials, where exactly does most of the electricity (currently, at least) come from to recharge them...

That's right! Fossil Fuel!! Very fucking 'Green'

Joke. That's the current state of electric cars.

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Joke

Charge times - rubbish

Assuming this has a similar capacity to the Tesla (53 kWh), then to charge it to 80% in 3 minutes would require a current of over 2000A, even on three phase.

No one has that kind of circuit available, and even if it were allowed by health and safety, you'd never be able to lift the cable!!!

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The one thing missing

OOOOh look how fast it is...but nothing about the range.

You would think they would try and come up with the Ford Focus of the electric car world, not some pathetic excuse for an eco-friendly penis extention.

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"Programmable external engine sound generator" = $£¥€ opportunity.

Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you... "RevTones"!!!

All now ™, ©, ®, etc of me, obviously.

Dear lord, no! Walking down the street will be like permanently sitting near 100 gits on the back of the bus.

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fighting FUD

Dervhied: 530 miles? Neither my Van, nor my wife's car, nor for that matter any car I have ever owned but one, could go more than about 400 miles on a complete fill up. The point is not "can we make it non-stop" but "can we make it in the same time vs. a conventional car, and do so greener, and for similar or less cost"

With Lithium-Titanate batteries, you can recharge in 5-8 minutes to full. About the same amount of time it takes to hook up to a gas pump and fill my van with 19 gallons of fuel. (plus a piss break for the family). These batteries are the same size and just slightly lighter than lithium ion (less than half the size of current hybrid batteries, and are typically mounted under the floor, not in the trunk, so you still have all your cargo space, and the car is balanced very well with the bulk of the weight near the center and close to the ground instead of all in the rear like most hybrids today.

The range of this sportster, on batteries alone, is reportedly 100-200 miles. However, less expensive systems using hybrid gas/electric can go 400+ miles, assuming you sacrifice the 0-60 in 4 seconds or less and high end features of a supercar. The gas engine gets great economy because it has no connection to the drive train. It simply runs at peak efficiency generating additional electricity. It is merely for convenience to keep you from having to fill up, and to make those long hops down lonely cross country roads where gas stations might only be 200+ miles apart (upper Canada, Midwest USA, etc).

With a car like the GM Volt, on short, daily trips (60 miles or less total) you will be able to use ZERO gas. On longer trips, if you can stop frequently, you also use zero gas. If you let the engine run to keep the car going longer and avoid stops, you'll get about 60-80 MPG while the engine is running (depending on other electronics, headlights, DVD, etc in use while driving).

the GM Volt will be available in 2009 now according to recent news from GM, should be about $30,000 (USD), and will go 360 miles AFTER the batteries die completely, on a "less than a 12 gallon tank" Originally, they planned a 600 mile range "after the batteries were empty" based on a 14+ gallon tank, but they recently decided to shrink the tank to reduce vehicle weight figuring more than 10 gallons on one trip would only be needed infrequently and carrying that weight year round would be a waste of efficiency. If they offer choose to offer a Li-titanate battery option as well as Li-Ion, you'll have the option of the 10 minute or less fill up (at 3 stage power locations), 2-3 hour fill-ups if you have a high amp direct line at home, or 8-10 hours on your garage 110volt outlet.

The carbon cost of electricity will be is than half of that used in a gas engine (even better as we expand with more wind, solar, and other 100% carbon free solutions), and the cost per mile on electric will also rival even highly efficient cars (and will remain relatively consistent in price over time on green energy as fuel costs continue to skyrocket)

Sure, the Volt is a bit small for my family, but I'm absolutely certain a crossover SUV will be available a year or two after the volt (it;s already been seen as a prototype), running on a similar platform, and still costing under $30K. GM makes many chassis that could easily be converted to the Volt's power train system, as do other vendors.

electric cars in every garage? Well, in 30-50 years when that's likely we'll have in place a national super grid. It's already under construction, and is not only feasible, but profitable to install when considering how power companies expect to get cheap energy in the future. There's already a section ONLINE in Long Island, so I don't want to hear about how it's "vaporware." The energy costs to keep the lines super cooled with liquid nitrogen to 200+ degrees below zero is less that the average current loss over high power lines in use today, and we can run these lines hundreds of miles (potentially near a thousand) instead of our current limits of about 150, with no generated heat and conduction losses of a fraction of a percent.

Any major store with high voltage parking lot lighting in place could offer fill-ups on 3 phase lines (walmarts, targets, etc). The power cords are NOT "unliftable" as many would lead you to believe. When they claim they are, they're referring to the long distance lines used on poles, which are designed not only to carry the electricity 24/7 without heat build-up, and with as little current loss over extreme distances as possible, but also to carry their OWN weight from pole to pole, over hundreds of foot spans. 3Phase lines of the kind needed for rapid fill up are used in theater stages, industrial lighting, and common commercial building construction today, and when hung properly from a spring assist, could easily be maneuvered into filling position by the elderly. These are also the kind of lines used in high power electric welding equipment as another example. The cords are not that much larger than you'll find on high power, 3 phase, shop equipment, like large band saws, or metal benders, equipment you'll find in any common high school shop.

Instead of gas from oil, we can use WindFuels, aka petroleum made by combining H2 (made using wind energy) with wasted carbon stock from coal plants, and completely eliminate the use of oil from all society. Check out www.dotyenergy.com for more infor on WindFuels!

Do the research and STOP SPREADING FUD!

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80% in 3 minutes...

Well, to fill my gas powered car, which has a 19 gallon tank, which I typically find I'm only adding 15-17 gallons to (since I don;t want to risk running out), on average I'm standing at the pomp for 7 minutes, with about 1 minute of that answering "no, I don't want a car wash, yes I do want a receipt,..."

If I can get 80% charge in 3 minutes, that's FASTER. Even if I took an extra couple of minutes to take a piss, and grab a drink and a snack, I'm completely OK with that. I don;t see how this will dramitally increase lines at pumps...

...not to mention, THERE ARE NO PUMPS, just a cord and a way to put in a credit card. EVERY parking space on the lot could dispense energy. A typical gas station near me has 12 pumps (of which 1-2 always seem out of order). On the same lot, I could imagine 20-25 electric filling stations. Since electricity also doesn't have EPA regulations to be concerned with, we can turn every grocery store parking lot into a filling station, heck, I could even have low power outlets at the office in the parkign lot, keyed to employee ID cards. (I work 8 hours, low power fill-up is 8 hours, this seems logical! Holy Shit, it's a miracle solution!)

On a side note, as for the emissions sounds, I like the idea of that guy from the Police Academy movies faking engine sounds lol.

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Profit margins people

@ Dervheid, Adam et al...

These guys are selling fast, expensive stuff first because the profit margins are much higher and you don't need to set up a complex production line.

Once these companies establish a firm financial footing, I am sure we will see them come "down market" in terms of what is on offer. Oh look, that is exactly what Tesla are planning.

If you can produce a Ferrari-beating supercar with a decent range then it should be a doddle to make a family hatchback do the same. The big boys know this and they know the game is up, which is why you will see a glut of lithium ion powered regular car concepts in the next couple of years. Once they get going in this space, the "boutique" manufacturers will have a tough time competing, which is why they need sports car reputations to fall back on long term. They have to establish that reputation now.

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