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).

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.

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).

Need to sell your car?
Find your best offer from over 5,000+ dealers. It’s that easy.

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

Most Popular

UK firm fitting ‘pop bang’ aftermarket exhausts fined in landmark court case
MINI Hatch exhaust

UK firm fitting ‘pop bang’ aftermarket exhausts fined in landmark court case

A successful court action against a workshop advertising and fitting non-standard exhaust parts is ‘a lesson for businesses’ from the DVSA
23 Nov 2023
New Renault Scenic 2023 review: the famous nameplate returns in style
Renault Scenic - front
Road tests

New Renault Scenic 2023 review: the famous nameplate returns in style

We get behind the wheel of new all-electric Renault Scenic to see what all the fuss is about
27 Nov 2023
“Renault is taking over as the manufacturer of cars for the people”
Opinion - Renault Twingo

“Renault is taking over as the manufacturer of cars for the people”

Mike Rutherford thinks Renault is doing more than any other manufacturer when it comes to making affordable electric cars
26 Nov 2023