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Lightyear Unveils Its Long-range Solar Car

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Lightyear has introduced its first long-range solar car. The prototype
was presented to investors, customers, partners and press at dawn in
Katwijk, the Netherlands.

“This moment represents a new era of driving,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear. “Climate change is such a frightening development that it's almost paralysing. We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something. Lightyear One represents an opportunity to change mobility for the better.”

“Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market. The next models we plan to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users. Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price per kilometre,” Hoefsloot added.

Lightyear One will get to a range of 725 km on the WLTP cycle. The company also guarantees at least 400km in winter, at highway speeds and with heating on. Mostly, range will be between 500 and 800 kilometres.

The efficiency of Lightyear One means that it's possible to get more charging performance from any charging outlet in less time. Through fast charging, one can charge up to 570km worth of energy within an hour and with a simple 230V outlet, it's even possible to charge up to 350km worth of energy overnight.

Lightyear One is propelled by four independently driven wheels. In addition to lowering the weight and improving control, it means that no energy is lost in transit from the motor to the wheel. Lightyear One offers drivers unique control.The car also has a remarkably low aerodynamic drag, with the best aerodynamic coefficient of any car on the market. This increases the range of the car by decreasing energy consumption.

The roof and hood of Lightyear One comprise of five square metres of integrated solar cells within safety glass so strong that a fully grown adult can walk on them without causing dents. Unlike conventional solar panels, these cells function independently. This means that even if part of the roof or hood is in shadow, the other cells continue to efficiently collect solar energy. In fact, the solar cells provide about 20% more energy than traditional ones.

The solar roof and hood charge up to 12 km/h in the sun. Climate and driving frequency will determine the percentage of mileage this can give. Someone driving the national average of 20,000 km/year in the cloudy Netherlands would get about 40% of their mileage from solar energy. Lightyear One has a solution to accidentally running out of battery. One can drive 15-20km/h on what the solar roof and hood absorb from daylight, getting the vehicle to an outlet with no roadside assistance required. The solar roof and hood are designed to withstand high temperatures when charging, with no loss of efficiency.

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