Lightyear unveils ‘world’s first long-range solar car’

Autonomous cars, Car stuff

Lightyear, a pioneer in clean mobility, has launched a prototype of its long-range solar car to a select audience of investors, customers, partners and press in Katwijk, Netherlands.

The Dutch company, which was founded in 2016 by alumni of Solar Team Eindhoven, won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2013, 2015 and 2017. The company’s first 100 solar cars have already been reserved.

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear said:

“With Lightyear One, we want to show how our technology has enabled us to build one of the most sustainable cars on the market that also offers great convenience.”

 “This moment represents a new era of driving.  Two years of dreaming, thinking and working hard have led to this milestone, which is a giant leap towards achieving our mission of making clean mobility available to everyone.”

“Lightyear One has been engineered using a radically different perspective,” he added. “We all have a performance background and with that we focus relentlessly on optimising efficiency and safety”.

Key features of Lightyear One:

  • Constructed from high-tech materials to have the lowest weight possible while maintaining stringent passenger safety.
  • Propelled by four independently driven wheels, so no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.
  • Roof and hood comprise five square meters of integrated solar cells in safety glass so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents.
  • In addition to solar power, the car can be charged at a (fast)charging station or even a regular outlet.

Hoefsloot said: “The main goal of the car is to fill in where electric cars fall short. Research has shown that range and the lack of charging options are still the top concerns that people have when considering purchasing electric cars.”

“We are solving these issues with what we call ultra-efficiency.  On one hand, that will lead to an exceptional range of 725 km (WLTP) on a relatively small battery. On the other hand, it can charge directly from the sun because its energy consumption is much lower, generating up to 20,000 km worth of energy per year.”

Lightyear claims that charging options out there become easier to use because you get a lot more range for the same amount of energy charged.  So effectively, you charge the car a lot faster from any power outlet. For example, you can charge up to 400 km per night from ordinary 230V sockets.

According to Hoefsloot, this is just the beginning:

“Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market; Lightyear One is the first long-range solar car and has staggering specifications. The next models we plan to develop will have significantly lower purchase prices. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users.”

Lightyear will be ramping up production of the Lightyear One in 2021. Customers can reserve one of the 500 Lightyear Ones for a reservation fee of €119,000 (expected delivery in 2021) via the Lightyear website.

Chris Price
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