Lightyear 0: autonomy, price and characteristics of solar-powered electricity

Lightyear 0: autonomy, price and characteristics of solar-powered electricity

Lightyear 0

The four-wheeler market is preparing for a gradual shift to electric mobility and it was only a matter of time before the first solar-powered electric car arrived. In this way, in fact, the new Lightyear 0 is defined in many cases. This is a European project that aims to make electric cars even more complete thanks to the possibility of being able to count on an added charge level offered by the energy transmitted by the sun.

The new Lightyear 0 is the first true application of photovoltaic solutions to the automotive world (standard). The new model (which will be produced in a limited series) is preparing to debut on European roads by the end of the year, with the aim of supporting the growth of electrification and, above all, launching a new generation of vehicles. The new car, in fact, will be followed by further projects that will propose solutions similar to those introduced by the new Lightyear 0.

Here are all the details on the new Lightyear 0 project:

Lightyear 0: the genesis of the project

Lightyear 0 is the result of the work of Lightyear, a Dutch company founded by some members of Solar Team Eindhoven, protagonist of several editions of the World Solar Challenge, a race dedicated to solar-powered prototypes that takes place in Australia, cutting the country from North to South. The new project, ready for series production, was anticipated by the Dutch startup in 2019. In fact, about three years ago, the Lightyear One made its debut. prototype that laid the foundations for the birth of the new 0.

Solar energy to extend the range of the electric car

The car, in fact, uses the energy of the Sun to recharge the package batteries. In this case, however, it is a secondary charging system. The Sun, in fact, is able to guarantee additional autonomy to the car which, in fact, is in effect an electric car with a plug-in system for recharging. The presence of photovoltaic panels, however, allows you to recharge the car even without direct connection to the electricity grid, also obtaining an additional recharge.

Lightyear 0

Super large sedan aerodynamics

The design is optimized, down to the millimeter, to maximize aerodynamics. The car, in fact, has a Cx of 0.19. The designers also created the “Aero Cover” system. This is a partial coverage of the wheels which guarantees a further improvement in the aerodynamic performance of the car which translates into an extra range of 12 kilometers. In the race to increase autonomy, even the details matter. The cover, however, is an additional accessory and therefore does not represent a “necessary” element of the project.

It should be noted that the elongated shape of the body results in a very large trunk. The Lightyear 0, in fact, can count on 640 liters of rear cargo space. Sustainable and lightweight materials have been used inside the cabin to emphasize the character of the car. There is also a 10.1-inch display in the center of the dashboard for infotainment.

As for the engine, however, the Lightyear 0 can count on 4 electric motors. Each motor is connected directly to a wheel. The system thus composed is able to offer a maximum power of 130 KW. The maximum speed is 160 lm / h while the 0-100 km / h shot is completed in 10 seconds. These are certainly not supercar numbers. The entire project is designed to maximize efficiency and, therefore, operating autonomy.

Autonomy, charging and photovoltaic panels

To enrich the potential, in terms of autonomy, of Lightyear 0 there are photovoltaic panels. The car integrates a total of 5 square meters of panels, distributed between the roof and the tail. Under optimal conditions, the system is able to guarantee additional charging with a maximum power of 1.05 kW. According to Lightyear data, thanks to the photovoltaic panel system it is possible to obtain an extra range of 70 kilometers per day (always considering a recharge in optimal conditions).

Lightyear 0 Overall, the company estimates the possibility of traveling up to 11,000 kilometers each year using only the electricity produced by the photovoltaic system mounted on the car. For "optimal conditions" of operation, Lightyear considers a daily mileage of 35 kilometers in southern Spain, between spring and summer. Under these conditions of use, the electric is able to obtain up to 70 kilometers of extra range.

We can therefore hypothesize that a potential Italian buyer could obtain a similar (or even higher) value with a use in the southern regions of the country. In any case, the road tests will clarify the real potential of the Lightyear, both in terms of recharging through energy coming from the Sun and, above all, in terms of autonomy.

Regarding recharging " traditional ”, through the plug-in system typical of any electric car, it is possible to recharge the Lightyear 0 obtaining up to 520 kilometers of range in one hour with quick recharge. With a standard public column, on the other hand, charging for one hour guarantees 200 kilometers of range. With a domestic socket, however, you will get 32 ​​kilometers of range with one hour of charge. The company has not disclosed more precise specifications on the recharge, limiting itself, for now, to providing the distance data obtainable for one hour of charge

How much does the Lightyear 0 cost

Although the performances are not supercar, the Lightyear 0 arrives on the market with a decidedly challenging price. The car will be produced in a total of 946 units that can already be ordered with a price of 255 thousand euros plus VAT. Via the company's official website, customers in the EU, UK, Switzerland and Norway have the opportunity to order the car.

The exact delivery times are not yet known (customers will be contacted from company after order for more details). The first units of the Lightyear 0 should arrive on European roads by the end of 2022. Again, it will be necessary to wait for more details on the matter. All the units will be available in the course of 2023.

There are no particular margins to customize the project. Standard equipment includes parking sensors, rear view camera, cruise control and 10.1-inch infotainment display. Note that the infotainment is based on Android Automotive OS, with full support for OTA updates. There is also a dedicated app for controlling vehicle functions remotely.

Customers can choose the body color from 10 different options and, when ordering, they can also choose whether to aim or not on the Aero cover to increase autonomy with the system that covers the Aero Cover wheels. In any case, these few options available do not affect the purchase price in any way.

Lightyear Two: the future of solar electric cars

The Lightyear project 0 It's only the beginning. The company aims to create a real family of electric cars powered (also) by solar energy. The first step of this program will result in the debut of the Lightyear Two. The project in question is expected on the market between 2024 and 2025. The most interesting aspect of Lightyear's second model will be the price. The goal is to go from a supercar price to a subcompact price (by electric car standards). The car should, therefore, start at 30 thousand euros. It will be necessary to wait for the next few years to get a complete picture of the characteristics of the company's next project.

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