Solar Team Eindhoven Launches Lightyear One Solar Electric Car – Video

JUL 4 2017 BY MARK KANE 40

Meet Lightyear, a Dutch company which is developing  solar-powered electric car – the Lightyear One, reportedly capable to “drive for months without charging“.

Lightyear One

According to the announcement, it’s not only the first solar powered family car to be available on the market, but also a four-wheel drive one.

Lightyear mission:

“Currently, all cars of the world combined drive one light year, every year. That is 9.500.000.000.000 km. Every year. Powered by fossil fuels. Our goal is to accelerate the adoption of electric cars so that by 2030, one light year will have been driven electric. To that, we are providing a scalable solution.”

Currently Lightyear has received five orders for the Lightyear One, which doesn’t surprise us, as the price tag is €119,000 ($135,000) – one can learn more and of course place an order on the company’s website here. However, there are no specs revealed as of yet.

The target to start production is 200 orders by next year.

Former TU Eindhoven students intend to develop and introduce the Lightyear One using just a fraction of capital that would normally be needed by an established carmaker.

“Lightyear was started by former TU Eindhoven students who were art of the university’s solar team, which won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in the Cruiser class in 2013 and is competing again this year. “We used all the student-time knowledge to develop a commercial solar car”, Tesse Hartjes of Lightyear said to NOS. The parts for the car come from the Netherlands and abroad and assembly is set to be done at the Automotive Campus in Helmond.”

“While launching a new model of car usually cost car brands around 1 billion euros, the young designers plan to build the Lightyear One for a few million euros. “We have a big advantage on existing car brands because they are stuck on standard models and their image. We are completely free of it”, Hartjes said. The company also has several interested investors.

A main issue for solar powered cars in the Netherlands, is that the Dutch climate may not produce enough sun energy. But Lightyear is confident this won’t be a problem. “There is enough sunshine in the Netherlands to drive 10 thousand kilometers with the Lightyear One every year. After that the car can be charged at a charging pole”, Hartjes said to NOS. “If Tesla had this technique when they started, they would also build a solar car.”


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40 Comments on "Solar Team Eindhoven Launches Lightyear One Solar Electric Car – Video"

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Many will point out that you can buy a loaded Tesla for that amount of money. They will also point out that you would be horribly crushed in a collision with a Tesla, or any other car.

I suggest that the most disturbing thing about it is that it requires one to actually consider the amount of resources and energy we use for personal transportation. As long as we are able to keep all that hidden away over the curvature of the horizon, we can pretend we are working toward “sustainable” transportation.

“we are working toward “sustainable” transportation.”

That’s why this will fail. People don’t care about “sustainable”. If they did, there wouldn’t be more SUV than small cars, all of them driven by solo driver.

Absolutely correct. The only way to reduce CO2 is to reduce consumption (slow the economy and reduce population).

This graph is for the US in the last quarter century. In the next quarter century, the science says, we need to be down in the lower right corner.

That would require sacrifices greater than any of our global wars.

No individual, in a position of power, in business or government will ever suggest such a thing. And we, as citizens, will go on pretending we care about future generations. Happy 4th!

The ultimate answer to Greenhouse Gas Emission (and a host of other things) is always less people…but it is the “hottest” of hot button topics.

On that topic, most people already have a ‘sunk’ investment of multiple kids, or they want them, or they have a kid (s) with multiple kids, or brothers/sisters, etc; so it hits close to home, and is an indefensible position, and one that a person can do nothing about after the fact…and people done like that.

With current trend of most places on earth having about 2 to 3 kids, projection is that the world will top out at about 11 billion people. I think the world will handle that ok, as long as North Korean nutjobs don’t kill us all.

Hans, you will be missed…

It can’t handle it if they are as wasteful as people in the US.

I do think we can have 11 billion people sustainably if we’re smart.

I am old enough to remember:
We will top out @ 6 000 000 000. Well, no.
We will top out @ 9 000 000 000. Gone too.
We will top out @ 11 000 000 000. maybe, but not a given.

I’m old enough to remember global cooling will doom us all. But new evidences show that warming is more likely.

If you watch the video, he makes pretty compelling argument. We’ve reached “peak children”, and that points to about 11 billion as peak population.

No argument here. Deeper education (over more time) and have a clear path to advancing one’s position/standing in life definitely lowers the birth rate…you see this often in 1st world nations. Many people today talk about/look to achieve “the peak”…because that is a sexy topic, but I would suggest that is not seeing the forest for the trees. At today’s current level, we are already way out of whack, the world is chaotic, emissions and wastefulness is way over the top. When it comes to achieving “peak” standard of living, and “peak” sustainability ie) the ability to manage net-zero effect on the environment, “peak” population should be more like ~500 million spread out over the Earth (it was ‘only’ 900 million about 200 years ago). And while there is some natural attrition/slight “thinning of the herd” in the first world, that is a microcosm of a very particular set of circumstances, inside a very unique time in history where standard of living advancements/new technology is running wild…people see the continued “new hotness” and the “brass ring” of the day, and put off reproducing longer to try and gain it. However without a greater moral code (or at least an understanding… Read more »

It depends on what you consider “sustainable”. If you mean organic farming and only using animal dung as fertilizer and no mechanization of any kind, then yes, about 500M is about all we can support.

But if you allow for mechanization, about 2 B can be supported. That was the fear in first half of 20th century that mass starvation will result if population gets over 2 B.

Fortunately with the advent of artificial fertilizers, max sustainable people become far more. I think I read 40 B if not for meat, and 10 B with wasteful meat eating like today.

If there’s a cleaner and cheaper alternative to fossil fuel, you can mechanize and make artificial fertilizers all you want. At that point, maybe even synthesizing food using energy might be cheaper than agriculture based food.

When that happens, sustainability won’t be an issue. Everything can be synthesized using cheap and clean energy.

I’m bullish on the future. To quote the best presidential candidate, Alfred E. Neuman, “What, me worry?”

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Heeh, nothing so “organic” for me, I’m a stronger believer, proponent of technology as the best offset, or easiest path if you will, to “sustainability”.

Having tech/machines replacing human jobs, especially the undesirable ones…but for the behind of the whole, the not the enrichment of the few.

ie) As we have seen in farming, where 1 farmer today can do the work of 50 from 100 years ago, or the man hours of labor needed per car produced, etc.

Which is also why I tend to support “universal wage” philosophy at the same time. I think it is pretty obvious that tech is running away with this thing, it can bridge a lot of gaps for us if we employ it sensibly.

To be clear, I’m not advocating for entitlements or laziness, but for people to have the highest standard of living possible, while “working” (or rather enjoying) meaningful and/or engaging professions, while tech picks up the slack/displaces those less desirable jobs over time.

…again, I realize these are all fairly wild/Utopian goals, but might as well aim high, (=

I’ll be interested to see the results in Finland on a universal wage (and other pilot programs)

The only way to get rich is to sell things in mass quantities. That means the prices must come down so that ordinary people can afford the technologies. Indeed, this is precisely what Tesla is doing. There won’t be “gap” in the long run.

As an example, there was some hoopla about digital divide between the poor and the rich few years ago, but that’s nonsense now that practically everyone has smartphones with Internet access.

A form of fair tax was proposed to provide basic income as refundable tax credit. But that was shouted down by the left as giving tax breaks for the rich and by right as welfare for everyone. Not sure if universal income will ever pass, especially in this era when Dump can become president.

Goals generally don’t work out, especially not utopian ones (eg. Cell phones outnumber toilets in India now). I can only look to the past to see what has happened, and new technologies improve lives of everyone. Though expensive at first, the greed to get rich will bring the prices down so that as many people can enjoy them at the lowest possible price.

What, me worry? 🙂

Great video! Thanks. People do reduce their family size given a chance at reasonable health/education. The problem is the remaining time, and resources. We first world folks got it first, and we want to keep it all for ourselves. Having had it all, I can say from first hand experience: Three meals a day, a bicycle, a 15′ x 15′ room, and a computer/smart phone is all any of us need. We don’t need cars, airliners, or luxury vacations. We need a fairer distribution of wealth, i.e. healthcare/education/freetime within, and among nations. We could work 20 hours a week, and have the rest of the time for friends and family. We have a moral responsibility to reduce our consumption, before asking the poorest on the planet to sacrifice.

It’s a topic I believe in (and follow) myself, but not one I like to discuss too much (perhaps once or twice over the years in the discussion at IEV). There is an odd defensive mechanism that kicks in when discussing it…like those advocating the position are trying to kill someone’s 2nd or 3rd offspring, “if we did that, we wouldn’t have our lovely flower Susie”, which of course no one is doing, the past is the past. Incidentally, the best retort to the “yeah but then we wouldn’t have had Susie, who we love so much, if we stopped at 1 kid” retort is, “…but if you would have kept going, you would have had Mark…and Mark was going to cure cancer.” Its a total catch 22 on the cutoff. The fact is, you can be the most wasteful, unconcerned SOB out there if you intentionally only reproduce generationally at 50% (not that I am of course advocating being an “unconcerned SOB”).Taking it a step further (albeit not a realistic expectation – life happens), one should preferably reproducing in their 30s (ie a couple to a single offspring). By doing this, you will always be light years ahead of… Read more »

Yup. From personal experience, rational agreement can lose out to biological drives. Especially in a society that doesn’t support rational decision making.

Jay, if you watch the video, there’s no forcing involved. Raising kids become so much more expensive, because people try to “keep up with the Joneses” when it comes to kids (ie, give them the best they can afford). As that psyche gets into the culture combined with lower child mortality, they naturally have fewer kids.

The problem in Asia is the opposite. They have aging population, but not enough young people to support them. Their culture was (still is) that the young support the old, but with 1 child policy (forced for voluntary), a kid may have to support 6 people (2 sets of grandparents + parents). That becomes a huge burden with aging population and having fewer kids.

“…is an indefensible position, and one that a person can do nothing about after the fact… and people [don’t] like that.” Well actually, there are two ways to reduce the population: 1. Decrease the birth rate 2. Increase the death rate Method #2 can be done “after the fact”, but publicly advocating a planned method of achieving that (genocide, forced euthanasia, execution by lottery) would be a way to instantly lose your friends and supporters. But #2 is what happens in real life, in an unplanned fashion, following overpopulation: Wars, famines, and epidemic diseases are all “natural” ways of reducing overpopulation*. The question isn’t whether or not something will reduce global overpopulation. Something already is happening in certain regions: in the Mideast and in southern Africa, if not other places. The question is whether we will reduce human overpopulation in a planned fashion, or “let nature take its course” as we always have in the past. This is a very grim example of the adage If you don’t control events, then events will control you. *Some might argue that wars are not “natural”, but are a result of deliberate human planning. Those arguing that should watch a few episodes of… Read more »

Maybe Trumpcare is #2. Who would have thought the GOP actually cared about global warming? 😀

You miss-spelled Obama Care

“We have a big advantage on existing car brands because they are stuck on standard models and their image. We are completely free of it”

Ummm, well, “they” actually build street-legal cars which can pass crash tests and other safety standards.

You, contrariwise, will be building what is essentially a 4-wheeled bicycle covered with a light plastic fairing.

“…the price tag is €119,000 ($135,000)”

It is astonishing to me that anyone would pay that kind of money for what is not really a “car”, but rather a very lightweight 4-wheeled quadricycle. I wonder if the people who have made a reservation understand this isn’t a real car?

Here’s a picture of an actual solar-powered “car”:

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It will look more like this one as they competed in the cruiser class.

PP, you know damn well that the production car will not look like the one you posted. And about that price…i bet you had no problem when the Tesla roadster was released for the price it had. Everyone has to start somewhere. The tech is expensive but prices will come down as they always do.

Tesla roadster was the quickest and most exciting EV at the time of its release. If this thing performs better than Tesla P100D Ludicrous, or even well optioned Tesla 3, I will change my mind about it being a turd. But chances are, it will continue to be a turd at $130K. said: “PP, you know damn well that the production car will not look like the one you posted.” The shape will be different, but the point is that it will be a very lightweight vehicle, very lightly built, and not able to haul much if any cargo. It also will be very limited in carrying passengers. It has to be, if it’s going to be powered by direct solar power. Labeling this a “family car” is, IMHO, going beyond hype: That’s an outright lie. This won’t be a family car by any stretch of the term. If it will make you feel better, I wrote my post before watching the video. I see they did at least show a two-passenger prototype in that video, so that makes it rather less misleading than the teaser image. And why the anger you’re expressing, I don’t have any skin in the game here. I’m just discussing the issues. How about you? “And about that price… i bet you had no problem when the Tesla roadster was released for the price it had.” I don’t see how that is at all related. People knew pretty much what they were getting when they… Read more »

Here you can find information about Stella Vie. This year competing in the Cruiser Class in the world Solar Challenge. It is a five seater.

“And why the anger you’re expressing, I don’t have any skin in the game here. I’m just discussing the issues. How about you?”
My skin in the game is countless hours of discussion of solar potential and technology with some of the most ignorant average joes out there…their numbers are growing as the anti science cult gets stronger.
It saddens me to see ev enthusiasts fight solar progress and research. The way i see it, this car is the beginning of a long road not an end product so everyone should keep their pants on.

Wow, what a negativity. At the very least it will start another generation of young risk takers, learning how to combine innovation with business. 7000 miles added on solar is nothing to sneeze at. I would put my money in stationary solar and buy a 7000 dollar used leaf, but that is just me. I would also pay an extra 1000 if I can add flexible solar that does nothing but keep my car cool. So if all they do is iron out the technology for that, then it is a win.

Just enough solar to keep the cabin AND the battery cool.

Put 4k on your house then buy a used EV.

20 years ago you couldn’t evan say that but with the solar and storage cost crashing donw this tech is now practical. Same with this solar car (and other similar projects), time and research will take care of the ridiculous cost they deal with today.

It’s not time and research that bring down the cost. It’s selling in large numbers so that cost gets distributed among many. That’s how battery prices are going down.

Like FCEV won’t achieve large scale, this won’t be able to sell in large numbers to achieve lower price.

Actually I think they are in a relation. More product is sold as the tech cost drops. I bet you didn’t buy a 4k tv when it was $5k 5 years ago but you probably have one now that costed you $500. It’s not always the mass production that brings the cost down, innovation is the other way.

Not true. Research alone cannot bring down the price, only selling in large numbers. There was a guy who wanted to make a ham sandwich from scratch, and it cost him tens of thousands of dollars. No matter how much research, it would still cost the same.

I have tube TV from 1980s. I don’t watch much TV. People find it odd that someone who worked on cutting edge video technology has such ancient TV, but I guess it’s like gardeners keeping poor garden for their own homes.

Seems to me that a car that is so efficient that it can run on just the power of a few solar panels would also have great range with just a very small battery.

Fascinating but basically just a gimmick.

The Dutch team actually compared the energy usage of a Volkswagen, a model S and their concept.

I still find the idea hard to believe, but they know what there up to.

Besides, I very much liked the teaser of the design. Much better than any Nissan out there

A vehicle powered by direct solar power has to run on very little energy, and it has to be extremely energy-efficient. There simply isn’t that much power available in a few square meters of sunlight.

For the same reason, it has to be very lightweight and can’t carry much weight in passengers or cargo.

It also runs on indirect solar power as it has a small battery on board, charged whenever possible.

See for more details on their cars.

Apparently they can drive 45mph indefinitely on solar power, or faster using a 15kWh onboard battery. Full battery charge while parked takes 30-45 minutes which implies the array produces around 5-6kW. That’s impressive considering the 21-panel array on my roof (7.6kW nominal) puts out ~5.7kW in the summer at the peak of the day. I suspect they’re using advanced solar cells – the kind the usually only used for satellites, though I wish the article mentioned that. It does say the array costs $4,260 to produce.

Its was just a few week back everyone trashed this article, how on earth people still believe something like a solar car is viable.