Lightyear One, powered by solar energy, will “drive for months without charging”

Solar-powered electric car maker Lightyear recently shared an update on the development of its Lightyear One solar electric vehicle (SEV). the Dutch announced the company that it has successfully passed 20 Lightyear One endurance tests.

Their goal is to develop a car that can run for months without the need to be switched on, significantly increasing the vehicle’s stability and owner’s freedom.

In an email interview, CEO of Lightyear Lex Hoefsloot told us, “already with our first model, in the Netherlands, you can drive for months without recharging in the summer when you use the car for your daily trips.”

“We need to focus more on the transition to solar cars”

The numbers on the Lightyear website suggest that we are not as far away as some think from seeing SEV at long distances. The company claims that its first model consumes only 83 Wh / km – three times less than any other electric car on the market today. Using the solar panels on its roof, it can currently charge at a speed of 12 km per hour. So far, Lightyear says that’s enough to allow many drivers to make their daily journeys on solar-only for long periods – given that the average travel time in Europe is approximately 30 minutes, according to European Commission.

The technology for solar cars, of course, is only in its infancy, which means that it will improve in the coming years. As Hoefsloot explains, the global pursuit of sustainable development, against the background of The latest IPCC report on climate change means that people are taking SEV more seriously than ever.

Lightyear One charges at a speed of 12 km per hour through solar energy. Source: Light year

“There are already different countries in Europe that want to ban the sale of ICE cars by 2030,” Hoefsloot explained. “This is great news, of course, but we believe we need to focus more on the transition to solar cars. Designing even more efficient solar panels, for example, would make a significant difference to this transition. ”

And Lightyear isn’t the only company working on SEV. “There are various startups, including Lightyear, that focus on designing efficient solar cars, and more traditional car manufacturers are also working on that,” Hoefsloot said. Other companies include German launch of Sono Motorswhich develops a vehicle with 248 solar cells integrated into its body. Traditional car manufacturers such as Hyundai are also developing cars solar roof options, with claims that solar energy can recharge up to 60 percent of the car’s capacity.

Lightyear aims to develop a car that should only be turned on once or twice a year

One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to mass trading of SEVs is the fact that solar panels are currently working with efficiency from around 20 to 35 percent, which means that more panels have to be added, which increases the weight and cost of the vehicle.

We asked Hoefsloot if he believed that solar panels would be accepted primarily as an additive for battery-powered vehicles, and he said: “wWe believe that charging the battery will complement our solar roof. Solar energy offers independence. You can just park your car and it will charge. Solar cells are getting cheaper and they just provide you with clean, free and hassle-free energy. “

“Our goal,” said Hoefsloot, “is to deliver a car that in 15 years will ensure that you only have to charge once or twice a year for every average driver in Europe.”

To achieve this goal, Lightyear recently reached two key stages on the road to producing its first commercial vehicle. In July, Light performed track tests which demonstrates that the Lightyear One prototype can travel 441 miles (709 km) on a single charge. The company strives to get the widest possible range from a relatively small battery, which means that the battery and solar panels are not too heavy.

Lightyear One, powered by solar energy, will
Lightyear One recently underwent a series of endurance tests in October. Source: Light year

Most recently, on October 18, the company conducted an approximately one-week session of endurance tests to ensure the safety of the Lightyear One. For these tests (shown in the video above), the vehicle was driven on uneven terrain and roads filled with potholes to show that it can withstand real conditions.

Maybe we are still far to see long-distance SEVs on the roads. However, with countries like Canada that declare prohibition of the internal combustion engine cars by 2035, the freedom provided by solar energy may simply add much-needed extra incentive to buyers of electric cars in the long run.

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