Lightyear unveiled today the prototype version of its Lightyear One solar electric car, scheduled for 2021.
The 5-seater looks pretty good, especially taking into consideration the priority of making it efficient, aerodynamic, with plain surfaces for photovoltaic cells embedded on the hood and roof.
Believe it or not, but the Lightyear One is rated at 725 km (451 miles) of WLTP range, which at an energy consumption of 83 Wh/km suggests around a 60 kWh battery.
The range is expected to remain high - 400 km (248 miles) - even in the winter, at -10°C, while normally it should be between 600-800 km (373-497 miles).
An interesting approach is the use of four independent electric motors, one for each wheel, which not only means AWD, but also advanced torque vectoring.
On the charging topic, Lightyear decided to go with an on-board charger (up to 22 kW three-phase AC) and DC fast charging up to 60 kW.
The major drawback of the Lightyear One is its price of €119,000, but we need to remember that the target is the premium/luxury segment. The first 100 cars have already been reserved, and now the company is collecting pre-orders for the first 500 cars with a reservation fee of €119,000.
Lightyear One specs:
- range of 725 km (451 miles) WLTP
- energy use 83 Wh/km (134 Wh/mile) WLTP
- roughly 60 kWh battery
- acceleration 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 10 seconds
- all-wheel drive, 4 independently controlled electric motors, advanced torque vectoring
- Charging (power in kW and maximum range replenishing speed in km/h):
- solar: 12 km/h
- 3.7 kW: 35 km/h
- 22 kW (3-phase AC): 209 km/h
- 60 kW (DC): 570 km/h
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 5057 x 1898 x 1426 cm
- Normal: 780 L, Extended: 1701 L, Center console: 12 L
- Over the air software updates, Companion App, Wireless key, Apple CarPlay , Android Auto
Gallery: Lightyear One prototype
Lightyear unveils the world’s first long-range solar car
Prototype Lightyear One debuts in sunrise presentation
Katwijk, June 25, 2019 – Lightyear, a pioneer in clean mobility, introduced the first long-range solar car today. The prototype was presented to a select audience of investors, customers, partners and press at the break of dawn in the TheaterHangaar in Katwijk, the Netherlands. “This moment represents a new era of driving,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear. “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 was founded in 2016 by alumni of Solar Team Eindhoven, which won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Since the launch, Lightyear has received several awards, grants and support from key investors. “This allowed us to develop a working prototype for the first long-range solar car in just two years. We have already sold over a hundred vehicles. With Lightyear One, we want to show that our technology enabled us to build one of the most sustainable cars on the market that also offers great convenience.”
Lightyear One has been engineered coming from a radically different perspective. Hoefsloot: “We all have a performance background and with that we focus relentlessly on to optimize efficiency and safety”. Lightyear started from scratch, following not convention but only the laws of physics, to purposefully design a car that “gets the most out of every ray of sunshine”. Hoefsloot continued, “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 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. Moreover, all of the 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 a lot faster from any power outlet. You can charge up to 400 km per night from ordinary 230V sockets. That’s great for road trips because you don’t need charging infrastructure.”
- The car is constructed from high-tech materials to have the lowest weight possible while maintaining stringent passenger safety
- Lightyear One is propelled by four independently driven wheels, so no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel
- The roof and hood are comprised of 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, Lightyear One can be charged at a (fast)charging station or even a regular outlet
During the presentation of the prototype, Lex Hoefsloot emphasized the importance of the moment. “Climate change is one of the biggest problems that we humans have faced in our history. It is such a frightening development that it is almost paralyzing. We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something. Lightyear One represents a huge opportunity to change mobility for the better.” Hoefsloot stressed that nature has been a great source of inspiration. “For centuries, we have lived in balance with nature. With the technologies of today, we have the opportunity to do so again. By starting from scratch and using the laws of nature as a guideline, nature becomes our greatest ally in developing ultra-efficient designs.”
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 a significantly lower purchase price. 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. 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 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.”
Lightyear will be ramping up production of the Lightyear One in 2021. The first 100 cars have already been reserved. Via the Lightyear website, buyers can now reserve one of the 500 Lightyear Ones for a reservation fee of €119,000 (expected delivery in 2021).
Lightyear's mission is to make clean mobility available to everyone, everywhere. Lightyear develops electric cars with energy-efficient design and integrated solar cells. Drivers could go up to 20,000 kilometers a year on the sun, depending on the climate. The fast-growing company was founded in 2016 and now has more than 100 employees.The team is a mix of young talent and experience from the automotive industry, including former employees of Tesla and Ferrari. Lightyear also opened its own production facility in Helmond. In less than two years, the company has raised over 20 million euros from reservations, investments and grants. They were awarded CES Climate Change Innovator, Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Finalist, and, recently, Lightyear received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 848620. In the summer of 2019, Lightyear will open a new office and launch the first prototype of the Lightyear One, Lightyear's first model. www.lightyear.one