Having low drag is very important for electric vehicles because it allows them to drive further while using less electricity, and designing them from the ground up as EVs allows engineers to really create shapes that cut through the air. Lightyear says its 0 solar EV will become the production car aero king, with the lowest drag coefficient ever measured in a production vehicle, just 0.175 Cd.
That’s considerably better than the slipperiest current cars, and it even beats the GM EV1, which had a drag coefficient of 0.195 Cd. It’s interesting that Lightyear had previously said that the 0 had a drag coefficient of 0.19 Cd, but now they have lowered it after testing the vehicle in the FKFS wind tunnels in Stuttgart, Germany, in accordance with the WLTP testing procedure.
With the announcement, Lightyear’s Chief Technology Officer, Arjo van der Ham, said
We are extremely proud of this incredible achievement. We had to start from a blank sheet of paper when we started developing our technology and – with a lot of dedication and hard work – we continue to push the boundaries with every milestone like this.
The Lightyear 0 is helped by its slippery nature to also be very efficient, thus achieving 1,000 km (62o miles) on one charge of its quite small 60 kWh battery, according to its makers. This was measured based on a 50 km (31 mile) commute in the Netherlands in summer, and it will vary depending on the temperature and how sunny it is, although they have demonstrated the vehicle is capable of achieving it.
Its hood and entire top part are covered in solar panels that add up to 5 square meters (54 square feet) and they can actually extend the vehicle’s range by around 70 km (44 miles), or more in ideal sunny conditions. Over a full year, the company estimates that owners can expect around 6,000 to 11,000 km (4,300 to 7,000 miles) of free solar range.