The government is hoping to help change the public's perception of electric cars by investing £2.5 million in putting 21 electric sports cars on the road for a year.
The cars, which are all intended for sale to the public eventually, will be produced by Delta Motorsport, Lightning Car Company, Westfield Sports cars and Ecotricity cars.
The companies are all matching the government's investment in order to take part in the scheme, and are grouped together as one of the winning consortiums in the Technology Strategy Board's project, which was announced yesterday.
"Three years ago electric cars weren't machines people wanted to be seen in," said Chris Dell, marketing manager for Lightning. "We've been chosen for this project to show that electric cars can be great to look at, great to drive and extremely stylish."
The project, which is being co-ordinated by AEA, will run for 12 months and "place the cars with driving enthusiasts where they will be used for commuting and leisure purposes, including closed-circuit driving."
The Lightning GT is perhaps the best known of the trial vehicles, having been unveiled at last year's British motor show.
It is scheduled for production next spring, and runs on 100 per cent electric power to produce more than 500bhp and a range of 180 miles. Its makers say it will travel from 0-60mph in under five seconds and hit a limited top speed of 130mph.
The Lightning GT also has four-wheel drive and full regenerative braking, and use a lithium titanate battery pack.
Westfield is producing two electric vehicle platforms for the project, the Westfield Sport and GTM Libra. The platforms will run essentially the same powertrain, delivering a sub six second 0-60mph time and a top speed of 100mph.
The cars will have a twin motor in a single housing, which will be powered by energy stored in a iron phosphate battery pack. Two battery packs will be available, one with a 60-mile range and one with a 120-mile range.
The Delta E-4 Coupe is a two-door, four-seat coupe. It will be a pure battery electric car with a projected range of 250 miles. It is anticipated it will travel from 0-60mph in five seconds and have a top speed of 125mph.
The front and rear impact structures are made from aluminium, the suspension is steel double wishbone and the chassis is carbon composite. Electric motors are mounted in board, directly driving a wheel - as a result there is no need for a gearbox or differential.
The Lotus Exige-based Ecotricity car will travel from 0-60mph in four seconds and has a top speed of more than 140mph. The Exige chassis has been lengthened by 90mm, and it uses 96 lithium ion batteries, two brushless motors, and a new transmission.
Its makers claim it was developed by engineers with F1 experience, and say that its centre of gravity has been lowered and shifted forward. The air ducts have also been removed, as the motor does not need cooling.