Ecologically very interesting: Solar car Lightyear 0 goes into production

In recent years, e-car startups have promised a lot but rarely delivered.

Ecologically very interesting: Solar car Lightyear 0 goes into production

In recent years, e-car startups have promised a lot but rarely delivered. The Lightyear solar car project, on the other hand, seems to be getting down to business. A Dutch startup now wants to go into series production with its idea.

There have been many electric car startups in recent years, but most of them have not grown beyond grandiose visions. The Lightyear solar sedan project, launched in 2016 by students at Eindhoven University of Technology, appears to be more promising, however, because the first model, the Lightyear 0, has now been presented in its final production outfit. Production of a small series limited to 946 units is scheduled to start in September, and the first vehicles will be handed over to customers in November.

The key data of the lighthouse project are impressive. It is a 5.08 meter long sedan that is characterized by a drag coefficient of just 0.19 thanks to a particularly streamlined outer skin. Together with a weight of 1575 kilograms, this ensures efficiency advantages. Despite an average battery of 60 kWh, the Lightyear 0 should travel 625 kilometers with one battery charge. Consumption is 10.5 kWh per 100 kilometers. Accordingly, the Stromer is also suitable for long-distance use. At a speed of 110, the range should still be 560 kilometers. With a stopover for charging, electricity for 520 kilometers can be recharged within an hour, so a range of more than 1000 kilometers is possible.

This calculation does not include the potential contribution of the PV system integrated into the outer skin. A total of five square meters of curved solar cell arrays were integrated into the body. If the Lightyear is on the road on a sunny day, the on-board power plant can feed in electricity for up to 70 additional kilometers. Calculated over the year, the solar yield should be enough for a mileage of 11,000 kilometers. Depending of course on the driving profile, the Lightyear offers the potential to produce the electricity for daily trips independently for months in the summer months. So the user may not have to go to a petrol pump for more than half a year.

The Lightyear 0 is powered by a total of four engines that can provide a peak output of 170 hp and up to 1720 Newton meters of torque. The sprint from a standing start to 100 km/h should take 10 seconds, with a maximum speed of 160 km/h.

The five-door offers five seats in its interior lined with sustainable materials, all of which should offer enough space for adult passengers. The trunk can hold up to 640 liters of luggage. Equipment includes automatic climate control, heated front seats from Recaro and a networked infotainment unit with a 10.1-inch touchscreen, integrated navigation system and audio system. Assistance systems such as cruise control, rain sensors, speed limit detection and camera-based rear-view mirrors are also on board.

The Lightyear 0 sounds like an interesting and future-oriented car, especially from an ecological point of view, but at 250,000 euros it is quite expensive. But Lightyear is already planning an affordable successor model, which should come onto the market at the end of 2024/beginning of 2025 at a price of 30,000 euros.

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