Lightyear One Solar Electric Car: The Complete Guide For The UK

Lightyear One solar electric car
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body type: Saloon
Battery size: 60 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 450 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 0g (CO2/km)

Overview


Lightyear is a Netherlands (Helmond) based early stage clean transportation automotive manufacturer. The company was founded in 2016 by engineering students from the University of Eindhoven (Lex Hoefsloot, co-founder and CEO), who had successfully won the solar-powered World Solar Challenge race (1,878 miles) in 2013, 2015 and 2017 (Solar Team Eindhoven). 

The electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer is committed to developing off-the-grid long-range solar electric vehicles that are ‘scalable, grid-independent’ and can ‘explore the world, independent of energy charging infrastructure’. The company has a mission to provide clean mobility for everyone, everywhere.

‘Lightyear is on a mission to make clean mobility available to everyone, everywhere. Lightyear aims to eliminate the two biggest concerns for electric cars – charging and range – with an energy-efficient design and integrated solar cells. This allows motorists, depending on the climate, to drive up to twenty thousand kms per year on the power of the sun’. The solar car company has received the Horizon 2020 grant from the European Commission.

The company has already commenced development plans for its second solar electric car, the Lightyear Two, expected to be priced at EUR 30,000. LeasePlan, the global leasing company has committed to acquiring 5,000 Lightyear Two EVs. LeasePlan and Lightyear have been collaborating since 2018. Lightyear has also announced strategic partnerships with NXP Semiconductors, Valmet Automotive, Bridgestone and Sibros.

The company has been awarded the following:

  • TIME Magazine acknowledged Lightyear One as one of the ‘100 best inventions’ of 2019.
  • In 2020, Lightyear won the ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Most Disruptive Innovator’ Award of the Technology Fast 50 program organised by Deloitte.


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The All-Electric Lightyear One Solar Car


The all-electric Lightyear One has been developed from ‘scratch’, to achieve an ultra energy efficient design and maximum zero-emission range. The Lightyear One prototype was unveiled in 2019.

The EV has five square metres solar panels (the cells are encased in safety glass) and can achieve up to 450 miles (725 km) WLTP range on a fully charged battery. The company has focused on reducing the weight of the electric vehicle by using lighter materials like aluminium and carbon fibre to achieve maximum range efficiency.  The company also claims to have the best aerodynamic coefficient (Cd: less than 0.20) of any car on the market. According to the company, the Lightyear One is the most aerodynamic 5-seater to date.   

The solar panels are placed on the roof and the hood of the vehicle.  The solar cells cover five square metres of area and are placed unlike conventional solar cells, such that shade in one region of the solar roof will not restrict the harnessing of solar energy from the remaining part of the roof.   The company further claims that Lightyear One solar cells produce up to 20% more energy than conventional solar cells. 

The solar car can charge up to 43.5 miles (70 km) range per day. The company estimates that given the weather conditions in the Netherlands, the solar car can be powered up to 40% of the mileage from solar energy.  The solar panels can charge up to 7.45 miles (12 km) an hour. Using a plug-in EV charger at 3.7 kW, the EV can achieve a range of 21.75 miles (35 km)/h and at 22 kW, 130 miles(209 km)/h. At 60 kW fast charging the range can be increased to 354 miles (570 km) in an hour.

The solar electric car can seat up to five adults (two in the front and three at the back). The car has up to 780L luggage space (standard), which can be extended up to 1701L. Standard specifications include: over the air software updates, companion app, wireless key, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and wireless charging pad.

The car has been designed for efficiency and not speed. The solar EV has four independent in-wheel motors and can  accelerates 0 to 100 km/h in 10 seconds. The all-electric Lightyear One (Exclusive Pioneer Edition) is priced from EUR 150,000 (£128,628) not including taxes, and can be booked online for a full upfront payment. The electric car company aims to manufacture 946 units of the Exclusive Pioneer Edition. The first 150 units of the Pioneer Edition are now sold out and the EV manufacture is now developing the next series, the Limited Edition, priced at €250,000.

The solar electric car will be built by Finnish contract manufacturer, Valmet Automotive. Deliveries are expected to commence mid 2022 (EU, Norway, Switzerland/ left-hand drive). However, the company has not yet committed to a date for the UK market. The company aims to scale up production via key partnerships and is committed to making its solar car more price accessible.

PROS CONS
Good zero-emission range (up to 450 miles WLTP)Expensive (EUR 150,000 +) compared to other available EVs
Solar cells reduce need for plug-in chargingLimited real world performance data
Cheap to drive on solar zero-emission rangeDamage to solar roof could be prohibitively expensive to replace

The All-Electric Lightyear One Solar Electric Car (credit: Lightyear)


At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Saloon
Plug-In Car Grant (PiCG):Not Available
Engine:Electric
Available In UK:No

£ Variants (1 Option)
Lightyear One Exclusive Pioneer Edition (from N/A)

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 60 kWh
Charging:Up to 60 kW fast charging standard. On-board charger: 22 kW
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Battery Warranty:N/A

£ Average Cost Of Residential Charging
Battery net capacity : 16.7 kWh£2.40
Battery net capacity : 30.0 kWh£4.32
Battery net capacity : 39.2 kWh£5.64
Battery net capacity : 45.0 kWh£6.48
Battery net capacity : 50.0 kWh£7.20
Battery net capacity : 64.0 kWh£9.22
Battery net capacity : 71.0 kWh£10.22
Battery net capacity : 77.0 kWh£11.09
Battery net capacity : 90.0 kWh£12.96
Battery net capacity : 100.0 kWh£14.40
  • Note 1: The average cost of residential electricity in the UK varies depending on the region, supplier and type of energy used. An average for the UK is 14.40 p/kWh.
  • Note 2: Not all EV manufactures make available the data on net EV battery capacity, and in a number of instances the EV battery capacity advertised, does not state if it is gross or net capacity. In general, usable EV battery capacity is between 85% to 95% of the gross available capacity.

Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
  • Note 1: SoC: state of charge

Dimensions
Height (mm):1426
Width (mm):1898
Length (mm):5057
Wheelbase (mm):2950
Turning Circle (m):N/A
Boot Capacity (L):780

Lightyear One
EV Battery Capacity:60 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):450 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):83
Charging:60 kW Fast Charging (on board charger: 22 kW AC)
Top Speed:N/A
0-62 mph:10 seconds
Drive:All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Max Power (HP):136
Torque (lb-ft):885
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Weight (kg):1,300
Colours:Silver/Black
NCAP Safety Rating:N/A

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Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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