The Lightyear electric car with its own solar power system has already been written about on CleanTechnica, but Fully Charged recently made a video showing one moving under its own power, so it seemed appropriate to revisit this intriguing vehicle with an interview.
CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot answered some questions about Lightyear One, which can now be driven and is undergoing some tests. (At this point, Lightyear wasn’t comfortable answering questions about the vehicle’s solar power capacity and battery size, if you are wondering why those details were not included here.)
In the Fully Charged video, your co-founder, Lex Hoefsloot, said you have the energy consumption down to about half of a comparable vehicle. What exactly is the energy efficiency?
The energy consumption of Lightyear One is 83 Wh/km (WLTP).
What is the vehicle’s driving range with the solar power system and adequate sunlight?
With adequate sunlight, the range can be extended by 12km/h through the solar cells. If you compute this for 8 hours of sunlight, the solar cells can add 96 km of range, making the total range of the vehicle roughly 800 km.
What is it without the solar power system?
The range of the car without the solar power system, on a full charge, is 725 km WLTP.
Do you make your own solar cells for the vehicle’s solar panels?
Our solar panels are custom made, for the solar cells we have a partnership.
What kind of tests did you conduct when you started driving it, and what did you learn from the tests?
This is not something we can currently disclose.
When do you expect to start selling your vehicles to the public and what will the price be?
Through the Pioneer Edition reservation, Lightyear One can be reserved for €119,000 (excluding taxes) with deliveries beginning early 2021. Alternatively, Lightyear One can already be reserved for €4,000, with deliveries starting late 2022.The expected reservation price will be of €149,000 (including 21% VAT).
Will they only be available in Europe first or in America too?
The car will only be available in Europe at the start of production and we currently have no plans to make it available in the USA.
Did the new solar vehicle development come lessons learned from the student solar car competitions?
Lightyear One was founded by five young entrepreneurs who were all part of the World Solar Challenge team from the Technical University of Eindhoven. Through the experience of competing in (and winning) the World Solar Challenge in Australia twice* we realised that we had built a concept that was working and was scalable. We knew it was possible to build a family solar car and we were up for the challenge!
We were determined to incorporate many of the technologies that we used in our competition-winning car and that is why you will find that Lightyear One has many features that are not commonly found in production vehicles like the in-wheel motors and the big solar roof and hood.
*The teams that the founders were part of actually won twice and a following team (part of it is employed by Lightyear) went on to win it for a third time.
Image credit: Lightyear