Lightning GT pictures and hands-on

This has to be one of the most hotly anticipated cars for a long time. While excitement about the Tesla was feverish, there seems to be just as much enthusiasm around the Lightning GT. You can see why when you look at it though. Its nose has the style of an Aston Martin, its bottom has a whiff of the Jaguar E-type about it and the whole thing reminds us of a Dodge Viper somehow.

It's a lovely looking vehicle, certainly on the outside. In this particular car, the inside is nothing to shout about. The company hasn't finished working on this area, so this test car is little more than a functional place to be. That's not to say we weren't impressed with the dashboard, because it is a geeky dream. The bright blue instruments are more traditional than most electric cars, but we rather liked that. The only question is, will they survive to the final production model?

In terms of the proposed specifications, there's plenty to like about this car. Firstly, the 400bhp motors can propel it from 0 to 60mph in less than 5 seconds. This is quick, if not quite supercar quick. But, for an electric car there are more pressing questions. Its range is quoted as 150 miles with the standard battery, or up to 225 miles with a range extender pack.

Normal charging should take up to 15 hours, but there is a fast charge option that reduces that to 2.5 hours. There is also a claim that it's possible to charge the battery in 10 minutes, via an external charger. We have no idea how that will affect the long-term life of the cells, but the promise of fast recharging is one of the holy grails of electric cars.

We were told that the car should go on sale some time in 2013. From what we saw, the design is great and would turn heads even in a crowd of supercars. The company seems to have it working reliably, and with some impressively high performance. The only thing that needs to happen now is making the thing, and that's clearly not as easy as it sounds.

The car we saw was one of two samples. One, a silver colour, is externally perfect and is used for trade shows and photographs. This black model is a little rough around the edges, has a patchy paint job and has a pretty rough-and-ready interior. Even so, it was a delicious taste of what is to come in electric cars in the near future. 

We're certainly looking forward to actually driving one rather than having to satisfy ourselves by running our hands over its glorious surface.