Lightyear has just unveiled an all-new long range solar electric car today. The prototype vehicle was presented to a select audience of investors, customers, partners and press at the TheaterHangaar in Katwijk, the Netherlands. While there are electric car startups cropping up all the time, the Lightyear One is being pitched as a long-range solar-powered car. The startup is claiming that the vehicle has an incredible range of up to 450-miles (725km) WLTP range on a single charge.
Developing the car was a team that consists of some multiple time winners of the Solar Challenge.
The car is made from high-tech low weight materials and the roof and hood 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.
According to the firm its solar panels are capable of charging the battery, something which hasn’t previously been possible before.
It also states that the car will be able to recharge 400km (248-miles) of all-electric range overnight from 230V sockets.
“Unlike conventional solar panels, our cells function independently. This means that even if part of the roof or hood is in shadow, the other cells continue to efficiently collect solar energy. In fact, our solar cells provide about 20 per cent more energy than traditional ones.”
It is claimed that the rate of charge is around 12km per hour and Lightyear also states that drivers can go up to 20,000 kilometers a year on the sun, depending on the climate.
Powering the car is four independently driven wheels, which have a motor built into each wheel hub.
On the startup’s website, it also stated some more realistic claims about the battery life of the car depending on certain scenarios.
It states that: “We will guarantee at least 248-miles in winter, at highway speeds, and with the heating on.
“Mostly, the range will be between 310 and 497-miles.”
The first 100 cars have already been reserved costing but from today, consumers can reserve one of the 500 Lightyear Ones for a reservation fee of €119,000.
Expected delivery of the car is slated for 2021 when the firm will ramp up production of the car. Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear says: “This moment represents a new era of driving.
“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.”
Hoefsloot states that the motivation for the car was due to the changing environment.
He said: “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 paralysing.
“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. 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.”
The firm is also expected to develop several more electric cars and put them into production.
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 significantly lower purchase prices. 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.”