Dutch automotive company Lightyear has finally opened the doors to its “production-ready” Lightyear 0 – an electric vehicle powered by solar (EV) that can run at no cost for seven months or more.
The result is the result of six years of development and research development; the Lightyear 0 features a series of solar panels that curve on its hood and roof, as well as a compact 60kWh lithium-ion battery. This gives the car impressively three-hundred miles (625km) of range, of which 44 kilometers (70km) are derived from solar energy alone, according to the manufacturer.
In essence, the Lightyear 0 charges itself when exposed to sunlight, which means it can be driven for shorter distances (i.e., trips of less than 44 miles) for months at a time before having to be connected back to a regular power source.
Naturally, the amount of power generated by the vehicle’s solar panels will be completely dependent on the level of sunlight exposure you have in your locale, but “even in climates such as the Netherlands,” Lightyear states, “[this time between charges] would be two months and, in Spain or Portugal, as much as seven months.”
The company claims the company’s “patented, double curve solar arrays” are specifically designed for generating up to 11,000km of electricity annually.
Despite the small capacity of its battery, Lightyear 0 isn’t a particularly fast vehicle. The 60kWh power pack comes with 128 horsepower and 1,269 pounds of torque. This also gives it a pathetic 10-second acceleration from 62mph to 62mph, which is about 10 seconds. The speedometer is also rated at 100mph.
However, this isn’t the kind of vehicle that has industry-leading performance in its sights. Lightyear hopes that the promises of such an impressive array of features will make potential buyers consider other EVs, including Mercedes, Audi, and Tesla, even though the price of 0 won’t aid its cause in that aspect.
Lightyear claims it will make 946 units at the extravagant sum of EUR250,000 (around $263,000, PS215,000, or $AU375,000). It is possible to purchase one today on the official website for the brand; however, for that amount, you can get two Mercedes EQS EVs of the highest quality or three Porsche Taycan 4S sports cars and still have money to spare.
We believe that, therefore, we’re not expecting to see Lightyear 0 blow the EV market – however, it’s an exciting and thrilling innovation that suggests a solar-powered future of electric vehicles.
Analysis: What’s the story with the sun?
In the wake of years of over-the-top showboating, the auto industry is finally putting its feet to the road in the field of solar power. In addition to Lightyear, numerous firms are currently nearing the point of constructing high-capacity solar-powered cars on the road shortly. Mercedes, Hyundai, Tesla, and Toyota, among a few top companies, are currently working on hybrid or solar-powered versions of these models.
The major problems that remain a problem for the development of these vehicles are the difficulties in manufacturing secure and reliable. Cost-effective components to integrate cars, in addition to the diminution of power production because of bad weather or other obstructions (consider the number of buildings and bridges, trees, and tunnels that hinder the roof of panels).