Lightyear, a company founded by former engineering students who won the World Solar Challenge in 2016, has unveiled Lightyear One, the prototype of a solar car that amazes with features.
Lightyear One, a 5-seater sedan that counts on 4 independent electric motors inserted in the wheels, can be booked for the launch scheduled for 2021.
A sporty and elegant vehicle that has an amazing feature: 725km of autonomy.
It is a range that places the car far ahead of Tesla for autonomy, relying on the help of panels on both the roof and the front hood. In fact, Lightyear One is an electric car with a photovoltaic “little help”.
The extent of this solar support naturally varies by context. A Dutch customer, for example, can count on a good 40% of energy from the sun. Others, according to the company, can meet the car's energy needs 100% with solar panels alone. I believe it? More no than yes.
Yes and no. While with fast charging Lightyear One can get 570km of autonomy in one hour, its solar panels can increase the autonomy of "only" 12km for every hour of exposure. It is clear that keeping the car around with solar energy alone is possible, but not for long and driving very slowly. Unless you are Aran Banjo, for those who remember the genre: but at that point with the sun you do what you want.
The panels will however be very useful in case of low battery, allowing that extra bit of autonomy to find the closest charging point.
The painful notes
Lightyear One has a starting price of € 149,000, with a monthly lease of around € 1900.