Lightyear One has to be one of the most interesting electric vehicles yet to be launched, but just around the corner. The plan is to begin selling this very unique electric car next year and the company recently released a video showing how it performed durability testing on a One prototype to prepare the model for production.
The One is a very aerodynamic vehicle, whose top part is all solar panels, and it runs on skinny tires to minimize rolling resistance and improve range. But it still needs to stand up to the wear and tear that it will endure out on the road, but according to the company, the prototypes they tested for durability performed very well and the vehicle is definitely on track for its launch next year.
In the official press release about the durability testing, Lightyear also mentions that its previous big achievement was to drive the One prototype for 710 km (440 miles) on about 60 kWh of electricity, at a speed of 85 km/h (53 mph) - the test took over 9 hours and during that time, the vehicle also gained 3.4 kWh of solar energy, even though it was a cloudy day, or just about enough for 40 km (25 miles); they say that on a sunny day, you could gain as much as 72 km (45 miles) from the Sun.
Durability testing was performed in Belgium, at a newly built proving ground, and the vehicle’s performance was recorded with 72 sensors. One of the things that sets the One apart from other EVs (and which required extra testing) is the fact that it uses hub motors that are located right behind each of the four wheels, making the car all-wheel drive, although it’s not that quick, sprinting to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 10 seconds.
According to Lightyear, the test itself
Consisted of driving the Lightyear One prototype over 20 different surfaces, varying from deep potholes, driving over bumps, railroad crossings, to rural country roads. Besides seeing how well the in-wheel motors withstand under stressful conditions, we wanted to simulate a standard and complete drive of a car under real-life conditions.
The car did suffer minor damage after this difficult round of testing, but this only shows Lightyear where the vehicle’s weaknesses are and it allows them to find solutions. Testing the One is far from over, though, and the company still has to perform more tests in order to get the vehicle homologated for road use. They expect to start on-road testing in the summer of 2022, and this includes high-speed testing at 130 km/h (81 mph).