Lightyear One Prototype Solar Car Making Use of Carbon Fiber to Meet 725-km range
Lightyear revealed the first long-range solar car on 25th June 2019 to a selected audience of investors, customers, partners and press in Katwijk, Netherlands. “The moment represents a new era of driving,” says 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.”
The alumni of Solar Team Eindhoven, the founder of Lightyear, won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2012, 2015 and 2017. Apart from the awards won, they have also got support from many of the key investors that allowed them to develop a working prototype for the first long-range solar car in just two year. “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,” says Heofsloot.
As per Heofsloot, the designing of the car started from the scratch, following the laws of physics, and designing a car that “gets the most out of every ray of sunshine. 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 (WLTO) 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 lm 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 from road trips because you don’t need charging infrastructure.”
- Aluminum and carbon fiber composites are used in the construction of the car to offer the lowest possible weight and also maintaining the stringent safety of the passenger.
- Four independently driven wheels propel Lightyear One and hence no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.
- There 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.
- Apart from the solar power, charging at a charging station or a regular outlet is also possible in Lightyear One.
“Climate change is one of the biggest problems that we humans have faced in our history,” emphasizes Hoefsloot. “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 mentioned that 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 that 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 sustaible.”
Availability of the Car
Lightyear will start ramping up the production of the Lightyear One by the year 2021. The first 100 cars are already reserved. The Lightyear website have opened up reservation for the buyers to reserve their cars among the 500 numbers against a fee of €119,000.
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