The Dutch start-up Lightyear claims it will develop an exclusive, 5-person, electric car powered from solar energy and with an operating range of 800 km (500 miles). The 4-wheel-drive vehicle enables the user to drive for weeks or months, depending on the location, without having to charge up. It is the ambition of Lightyear to develop a solar car for the public at large and thereby offer a sustainable solution to the increasing demand for mobility worldwide. Because the solar car can be charged both from solar energy as well as simply from a wall socket, it is not necessary to first install a dedicated charging infrastructure.
Lightyear has successfully concluded the first round of funding. In total Lightyear has reeled in five million euro in investments. Lightyear will shortly open its next round of financing, which will enable the production of the first series, expected in 2020.
Newly designed car
A solar-electric car is an integrated system, not just an electric car with solar panels on the roof. The car becomes an independent entity, because the energy source is integrated into the car itself. To make the concept technically feasible, the car has to be efficient. This requires a redesign of the chassis, drive train and the aerodynamics. That is why in recent years a completely native solar-electric platform has been developed, which enables an energy-efficiency that is up to three times higher than that of current EVs.
To advise Lightyear about the substantial technical effort that accompanies the development of a new car, the company has partnered with EDAG, the largest independent automotive engineering company worldwide. EDAG will supply Lightyear capacity and expertise during the engineering phase. The first prototype is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2019.
Lightyear, in the meantime, is building an office and production facility on the Automotive campus in Helmond. The completion of this facility is planned for 1 August 2018. The prototypes of the Lightyear One and the first series will be built here, before it is scaled up for larger production numbers. The first deliveries are planned for 2020. It is already possible to reserve a Lightyear One from € 4000.