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Lightyear One Prototype Drives 441 Miles On A Single Charge During Test Drive

The Netherlands-based solar electric vehicle company Lightyear has revealed that its Lightyear One prototype car has achieved 441 miles (710km) on a single-charge test drive. We first reported on Lightyear way back in 2017, when it revealed its goal to be one of the first solar-powered electric cars for consumers. The original concept was based around the fact that EV charging infrastructure is still lacking and so placing solar panels on a vehicle can provide some much needed extra range.

From the early days, Lightyear promised that it would be able to achieve a 450-mile range on a single charge, and the results of this test drive show that it has made good on that promise. The test took place at the Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany, with the prototype car being put through a drive cycle at a speed of 53 miles per hour on a single battery charge of 60 kWh. Excluding the time taken by switching drivers, the car drove for a total of just under nine hours.

As well as the total driving range, the integral testing of the car looked at the yield of the solar panels, the energy consumption of the cooling system, the battery performance, the car’s operating software, and more.

On this test, it is estimated that the solar panels on the vehicle contributed 25 miles to its total range. However, the test took place on a cloudy day. On a day with full sun, the amount of additional miles provided by the solar panels could go up to 45 miles in total. If this upper limit is reached, then the Lightyear One really would have a potential range of 450 miles, which is very impressive.

In a statement, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear, Lex Hoefsloot, was understandably enthused about the vehicle’s performance: “After four years of hard work and in-house development, this is a very important engineering and technological milestone. It validates the performance of our patented technology and truly shows that we are able to deliver on our promise to introduce the most efficient electric vehicle. This prototype has over 440 miles of range with an energy consumption of only 137 Wh/Mile at 53 miles an hour. Even the most efficient electric cars in the market today consume around 50% more energy at this relatively low speed,” he said.

Of course, achieving this range at a relatively low, constant speed is one thing, but achieving it under normal driving conditions is another. There is also the fact that the solar panels are reliant on good conditions to generate power. These are factors that are already apparent to Lex Hoefsloot:  “This milestone is a great confirmation of the scalability of our business model. We are confident that in the coming months, we will be able to reach a similar level of energy consumption at highway speed,”he said. “Lowering the energy consumption per mile of an EV means that you can provide a lot of range on a small battery. Because batteries are the most expensive part of an EV, you can lower the purchase price of the car and achieve affordable electric cars with a lot of range that don’t need a lot of charging. Low-energy consuming cars can also benefit a lot more from adding solar cells to the car and gain about 45 miles of charge on a sunny day.”

A first exclusive series of 946 Lightyear One models is planned for the first half of 2022, with plans to scale up to address the mass market by 2024.

 
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Written By

Jonny Tiernan is a Publisher and Editor-In-Chief based in Berlin. A regular contributor to The Beam and CleanTechnica, he primarily covers topics related to the impact of new technology on our carbon-free future, plus broader environmental issues. Jonny also publishes the Berlin cultural magazine LOLA as well as managing the creative production for Next Generation Living Magazine.

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