Dutch start-up Lightyear has revealed a prototype of its upcoming new One, which it claims will be the world’s first long-range solar car.
The One is a lightweight, four-wheel drive, coupe-style four-door, which Lightyear says will offer a range of around 450 miles (724 km) on the WLTP combined cycle from a solar-electric hybrid powertrain.
Lightyear claims the One is able to achieve this segment-leading range even with a much smaller battery than that found in equivalent BEVs, because it consumes much less energy than conventional electric cars.
Each wheel is independently driven, minimising loss of energy throughout the drivetrain, while the use of ultra-light materials for its body construction reduces strain on the battery’s output.
As well as generating as much as 12,430 miles (20,004 km) worth of energy each year from solar power, the One can be charged from a conventional domestic 230V outlet, gaining up to 250 miles (402 km) of range overnight
The car’s five-metre-square solar panels are located on its roof and bonnet, comprising solar cells integrated in safety glass so strong that, Lightyear says, 'a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents.'
Company boss Lex Hoefsloot said: “The main goal of the car is to fill in where electric cars fall short. Research has shown that range and the lack of charging options are still the top concerns that people have when considering purchasing electric cars.”
The One marks the start of Lightyear’s planned solar vehicle development strategy. While reservations for the One open at €119,000 (£106,000/Rs 93 lakh), future models will 'have significantly lower purchase prices'.
The company also says the One’s successors will be geared towards car-sharing, with high levels of autonomy and low operating costs, as it strives to create a product range that is fully sustainable.
The first 100 One models, of a total planned production run of 500, have been reserved already. Build is set to get underway in 2021.
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