Exclusive first look at the Lightyear One solar-powered electric automobile

Darren Jackson

In recent weeks, a new prototype of the Lightyear One solar electric vehicle (SEV) has demonstrated a remarkable range, all packed into a 60-kWh battery package. On a test track in Germany, the Lightyear team completed a full cycle driving test, which provided valuable insights and validation as it prepares to launch its Lightyear One SEV next year. Lightyear is a solar electric vehicle (SEV) startup located in the Netherlands. As Lightyear’s first SEV, the Lightyear One, nears completion, we’ve been covering the manufacturer since it was founded. When Mikey G of Electrek got a close-up look at a Lightyear One prototype in January of 2020, he was able to observe how this solar EV might achieve such a long-range on a very tiny battery. Since its inception, Lightyear One has been touted as having a 450-mile range per charge. According to a recent news release, Lightyear’s newest prototype, the Lightyear One, can go 441 miles on a single charge. On a single battery charge of 60 kWh, the prototype was driven 53 mph for a full driving cycle at Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany. It was revealed by Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefloot in an interview with Electrek that the nine-hour test was a success. Although the track is rather level, the banked turns provide a little slope at the start and finish, according to Hoefloot. Between 67 and 72 percent of the banks have a banking aspect. Over the course of nine hours, the prototype was on the road, but the total test took nearly ten hours since they had to replace drivers every two hours. (https://lkop.me/jXQwjpM)

On a sunny day, the Dutch firm claims that its EV can go up to 45 miles farther with solar panels integrated inside it. Hoeflsoot said that if the Lightyear One had seen a little more sun that day, it may have exceeded 450 miles of range with its solar panels fully charged. Beyond the solar panels, Lightyear worked on the battery performance, the cooling system’s energy usage and the in-wheel motors as well as the SEV software’s functionality. In order to calculate the yield of this 441-mile milestone, the manufacturer said that everything within the Lightyear One prototype had to be carefully monitored. After the Lightyear One prototype reached a range of 441 miles on a very tiny battery, we had to question its CEO if the team had expected to reach this range or if it had exceeded expectations. Once again, this track data will be essential in fine-tuning Lightyear One before it sees a limited run of 946 SEVs into production in the first half of 2022, Hoefsloot said to Electrek: It’s possible that the pricing of the forthcoming Lightyear One will be affected by these findings. (https://lkop.me/jXQwjpM)

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