The Dutch manufacturer Lightyear has just unveiled the definitive version of the world’s first solar electric car: the Lightyear 0. With 5m2 of solar panels on its roof and a WLTP range of 625 km with a 60 kWh battery, it is the one of the most efficient cars in the world. The brand announces 11,000 km of free charging per year thanks to the sun.
In 2019, we were able to approach the prototype of the Lightyear One, a surprising electric sedan, integrating solar panels on its roof and bonnet. Last December, the Dutch company announced the development of the Lightyear Two using the same recipe but with a more affordable price.
A few hours ago on this Thursday, June 9, Lightyear unveiled the Lightyear 0, the definitive version based on the Lightyear One prototype. And the least we can say is that this electric car looks really impressive, at least on paper.
625 km range with 60 kWh battery
The brand indeed indicates a WLTP range of 625 km with a “small” 60 kWh battery weighing 350 kg. A figure to be compared with the autonomy of the Tesla Model 3, equipped with the same battery, with its 510 km WLTP. This excellent energy efficiency is made possible by the use of 4 motors (1 motor per wheel) as well as by its tapered shape and its length of 5 meters (5083 x 1972 x 1445 mm), making it possible to announce a drag coefficient (Cx ) of only 0.19. Its weight is very low for a sedan of this size with only 1,575 kg on the scale. This is made possible in particular by the use of recycled carbon fiber on the exterior panels.
11,000 km of free charge thanks to the sun
The autonomy bonus comes from its solar panels (5m2 in total) with double curvature developed by the brand, and allowing to add, according to Lightyear, 70 km of autonomy per day. In details, solar panels can provide 1.05 kW of power under optimal conditions. It would therefore take 60 hours of sunshine to fully recharge the battery.
Lightyear specifies that the solar panels make it possible to drive 11,000 km per year without recharging, on the condition of driving 35 km per day maximum, in the south of Spain. In other words, it would be possible to drive 7,400 km between two charges in southern Europe in spring and summer, but only 2,100 km in the Netherlands in summer, due to the more limited sunshine.
560 km range at 110 km/h
In practice, autonomy on the motorway at a constant speed of 110 km/h is given for 560 km with a consumption of 10.5 kWh/100 km. This is a very impressive number. The prototype had managed to travel 400 km at 130 km/h in 10°C. It is also possible to add theaero coveran option hiding half of the rear wheel, increasing autonomy by 12 km.
For charging, Lightyear announces imprecise figures and no charging power in kW. We would thus recover, in 1 hour of charging, 32 km of autonomy on a domestic socket, 200 km on a public socket and 520 km on a fast socket. According to our calculations, DC fast charging power would be around 50kW and the car would benefit from a 22kW on-board charger to take advantage of public alternating current terminals.
A tech-savvy car, not for sports enthusiasts
The Lightyear 0 was not created with sportiness in mind since the vehicle develops only 130 kW (170 hp) for a 0 to 100 shot in 10 seconds and a speed limited to 160 km/h. Impressive instant torque of 1720 Nm should however offer very good raises.
The Dutch brand has also put the package on the infotainment part. There is thus a 10.1-inch screen which runs Android Automotive and two 5-inch screens (one on each side of the cabin) which replace the mirrors with two exterior cameras. What nibble even a little more autonomy against a conventional car.
A vegan interior for an ecological car
The interior has not been fully revealed by Lightyear, apart from an unflattering 3D rendering. However, there are two heated Recarro front seats with a total of five seats with the second row of three seats. The trunk can store up to 640 liters and we have the right to 12 liters of storage in the center console. Leather has been banned from the car, which allows the brand to announce a vegan car, with the use of vegetable leather and materials made from recycled plastic bottles.
250,000 euros and deliveries in 2022
It is already possible to buy the Lightyear 0 on the brand’s website for a price of 250,000 euros (excluding taxes). The first deliveries will take place at the end of the year thanks to the start of production in October. The brand has planned less than 1,000 copies and we will be able to test it in a few days.
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