The Lightning GT, a pioneering electric-powered, British sports car, is now on display at the British Motor Museum. We look at the story behind it, including how it has been insured with Footman James throughout its life, and how it was ahead of its time in so many ways.
In the late 2000s, electric vehicles (EV) were nowhere near as prevalent as they are today - in fact one in three new cars registered so far in 2022 is electrified. Many will remember the Tesla Roadster as the only electric sports car for a long time before today’s constant influx of electrified and hybrid cars. However, there was another. Enter the Lightning Car Company GT.
Designed in 2008 by Daniel Durrant and his agency DRIVE, the fully electric Lightning GT was based on a V8 sports car originally produced in small quantities by British manufacturer Ronart Cars. Following unforeseen circumstances that caused production to grind to a halt, in 2006 the business and trademark for the Lightning Car Company were secured by Iain Sanderson, one of the original buyers of the V8-powered Ronart Lightning. It was at this point that a decision was made to relaunch the Lightning with an all-new and ultra-modern electric powertrain.
As a 100 per cent electric vehicle, the Lightning GT is equipped with high-grade Lithium Titanate batteries, which, at the time was an extremely advanced power supply. Performance-wise, the GT boasted a 0-60mph time of less than four seconds, with a top speed limited to 155 mph. These figures, combined with its innovative carbon fibre and honeycomb aluminium structure, made it a true rival to the well-known electric Tesla Roadster back in the day.
Of the two constructed and registered examples (one electric, one V8-powered), the electric variant of the Lightning GT now stands proudly on display at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire. It will serve as a reminder to the world that the electric car market wasn’t only led by Elon Musk and Tesla, but also by a British-designed and built fully electric performance car.
The BMM’s Curator, Cat Boxall, discussed the Lighning GT with us and said: “The Lightning GT has a special place in British automotive history and arguably it was the leading British pioneer for EVs in the 21st Century… and showed how competitive the UK was with known brands such as Tesla. I’m sure this car will be of much interest to our visitors.”
Furthermore, we’re proud to say that both road-going Lightning GT sports cars have been and continued to be insured by us at Footman James. Iain Sanderson, custodian of both cars explained that: “Footman James’ insurance policies were perfect for Lightning. As the GTs are extremely rare vehicles, its tailored Private Clients package was the logical choice for insuring the cars, and they’ve been insured with Footman James for well over a decade.”
If you’re looking to insure your specialist or prestigious vehicle, look no further than Footman James. Our insurance policies range from single-vehicle packages, multi-car policies, competition car packages, private and tailored packages and more.