The group from Eindhoven whose prototype car won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge for three years, just introduced the world’s first long-range solar car—the four-passenger all-electric vehicle called Lightyear One.
The prototype, which has already sold 100 orders to be filled in 2021, was presented to a select audience of investors, customers, partners, and press last week at the break of dawn in the Netherlands.
“This moment represents a new era of driving,” said 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.”
Lightyear was founded in 2016 after receiving enough accolades, grants, and investment that they were able to develop their working prototype in just two years.
The Lightyear One has been engineered using only the principles of physics to produce maximum efficiency for their plug-in car to get “the most out of every ray of sunshine.”
They were able to produce a 4-passenger luxury car that requires only half the energy consumption of other cars in its class—with a battery two-thirds the size of a Tesla S but providing longer range, up to 800 kilometers (497 miles) if driving in full sun.
Hoefsloot continued, “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.”
It can charge directly from the sun, but also can be plugged in. So effectively, you charge a lot faster from any power outlet. You can charge up to 400 km (248 miles) at night from an ordinary household electrical outlet.
- The car is constructed from high-tech materials to have the lowest weight possible while maintaining stringent passenger safety.
- The 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.
- Lightyear One is propelled by four independently driven wheels, so no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.
- In addition to solar power, Lightyear One can be charged at a (fast)charging station or a regular outlet.
- Crash testing has yet to be undertaken, but they’re looking forward to crashing one ”for science.”
Hoefsloot and his team of international engineers—some coming from Ferrari and Tesla—believe that with advancements in solar cars, making them cheaper in the future, they can make a big dent in world CO2 emissions.
Since new technology has a high unit cost at the beginning, they have to start in an exclusive market—the first production vehicles cost $127,000. But the next models Lightyear plans to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price.
Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle—a low price per kilometer—the third, final step will be to provide truly sustainable cars that are more affordable to use than the cost of gas you would 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.”
They have yet to ramp up production of the Lightyear One in their new facility in Helmond, but buyers can reserve one of the 500 electric vehicles for a reservation fee of €119,000 on their website (with expected delivery in 2021).
(WATCH the car driving in the video below)
Race to Be the First to Post About This New Solar Car on Social Media…