Advertisement

Lightyear unveils long-range solar-electric car

Lightyear, a Dutch mobility company, will put the world’s long-range first solar powered electric car into production from 2021

Lightyear, a Dutch electromobility company, has unveiled the world’s first long-range solar-powered electric production car, called the Lightyear One. The firm says it will start building the vehicle in 2021, in a limited run of 500 units, and that the car will have a WLTP-verified range of 725km (around 450 miles).

Advertisement - Article continues below

The Lightyear One is built from a range of lightweight materials and features a low drag coefficient of around 0.20cd, to offer the maximum possible range. The bonnet and roof are fitted with five square metres of integrated solar cells, strong enough to walk on, and Lightyear claims this panel can generate 50–70km of extra range per day during the summer.

Best electric cars to buy in 2019

As with a conventional electric car, the One can be charged using a household socket or a fast charger. However, thanks to the car’s solar panels and low drag coefficient, charge times should be reduced, while the number of miles-per-kWh should increase. Lightyear claims its new EV can recover up to 400km (around 250 miles) of range per night from a 230V socket.

Lightyear estimates that the One will be able to generate around 700kWh of its own energy per year, which it claims will allow a trip from Amsterdam to Innsbruck (a distance of 1,120 miles) with only two recharging stops on the way.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The Lightyear One is driven by four in-wheel electric motors fed by a compact, low-mounted battery. The firm claims this set-up offers more interior space and better efficiency over “one-motor-per-axle” systems, by limiting the drivetrain’s encroachment into the cabin space and reducing the amount of energy lost in transit between the motors and the wheels.

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, is planning to expand his company with a range of electric cars. He said: “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. The next models we plan to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price.

“Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price per kilometer. A third, final step will be to provide truly sustainable cars that are more affordable to use than the cost of gas [petrol] you need to drive a combustion car. This will prove to be our most important tipping point in the near future, and it will pave the way for a car fleet that is one hundred percent sustainable.”

The Lightyear One’s design is still being finalised, with several more revisions planned for the car’s solar panels and bodywork. The Dutch firm claims these final revisions focus on process optimisation and improving the car’s drag coefficient, in a bid to maximise its energy efficiency.

The first 100 Lightyear Ones have already been reserved, although the Dutch firm is still taking orders for the remaining 400 cars. Prospective buyers can secure an example now for a reservation fee of €119,000 (around £106,000).

What are your thoughts on the new Lightyear One? Let us know in the comments section below… 

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

New 2020 Ford Puma ST teased for the first time
Ford Puma

New 2020 Ford Puma ST teased for the first time

The sporty new Ford Puma ST will make its debut later this year, with the same 197bhp 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine as the Fiesta ST
3 Jul 2020
BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options
News

BMW to make extras like heated seats subscription based options

New software update for models with iDrive 7 also includes automatic switching to electric power in city centres for plug-in hybrid models
2 Jul 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates
Volkswagen Tiguan

New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates

The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan adds plug-in hybrid power and a hot 316bhp ‘R’ model to the SUV’s line-up
30 Jun 2020