Lightyear, a pioneer in clean mobility, introduced its first long-range solar car to investors, customers, partners and press in Katwijk, the Netherlands.
The introduction adds to the proliferating range of technologies destined to add complexity to the future vehicle fleet.
“This moment represents a new era of driving,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear.
Lightyear was founded in 2016 by alumni of Solar Team Eindhoven, which won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Since the launch, Lightyear has received awards, grants and support from key investors.
This allowed them to develop a prototype for the first long-range solar car in just two years. Lightyear One has been engineered to optimize efficiency and safety.
It has a long range battery and charges whenever it’s in the sun.
According to the company, Lightyear One will get to a range of 725 km on the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycle at full charge. The company says it will guarantee at least 400 km in winter, at highway speeds and with heating on, but says range will be between 500 and 800 kilometers.
However, since the integrated solar cells of the 5-square-metre hood and roof mean that Lightyear One charges up to 12 km/h as it goes, it can extend the range when the sun is shining.
The model uses four independently driven wheels mean to improve efficiency.
The company is currently taking reservations for the equivalent of $225,000 CDN with delivery stated to be in 2021.
“Climate change is such a frightening development that it’s almost paralyzing,” remarked Hoefsloot. “We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something. Lightyear One represents an opportunity to change mobility for the better.”
And this is just the beginning. “Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market. 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 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.”