Impressive numbers from Lightyear.
Efficiency has always been a factor to consider for car manufacturers and consumers alike. Whilst current EVs on the market with massive, heavy batteries that amount to over 300 miles of range are more than usable, the added weight does come with some drawbacks. With the lithium-ion battery technology we have now, battery efficiency is crucial in making EVs lighter.
Solar panels were one of the more popular solutions to decrease battery size without compromising range. Theoretically, solar panels plastered throughout the surface of an EV would be able to constantly add range to the car, allowing for a smaller battery. The Hyundai Motor Group was the first to offer solar charging on vehicles, but was heavily criticized by reviewers for the high cost and poor usability of the solar roof option. Tesla also tested a solar roof for the Model 3, but scrapped the idea before production. However, Dutch EV startup Lightyear seems to have made solar panels on EVs a viable solution.
Lightyear’s first car, the Lightyear One hatchback, was announced back in 2019 with production set to begin in 2021. According to Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot one of the car’s highlights, an array of solar panels, will be able to provide up to 45 miles of additional range on a sunny day. The electric hatch will be by far the most efficient EV when it goes on sale, featuring a 60kWh battery with an efficiency of 7.35 miles per kWh. This translates to over 400 miles of range on charged battery power alone, and a test unit has now achieved over 440 miles with solar charging added in. To compare, the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus has a 50.9kWh battery with an efficiency of 5.34 miles per kWh that powers the car for 267 miles.
Performance doesn’t seem to be a priority on the Lightyear One. The One will produces 134 horsepower and can do 0-60mph in around 10 seconds. Pricing starts at €150,000 ($177k) pre-tax, and you can reserve a Lightyear One now on their website with a down payment of €150 ($177) or else through investing €250 ($295) or more into Lightyear’s stock.
What are your thoughts on the Lightyear One, and solar tech on EVs in general? Let us know down in the replies section below.
Image via Lightyear