Solar, So Good

by BTM

Tue, 02 July 2019

Solar, So Good

Living where the sun shines almost every day means the arrival of an electric car that uses solar power could be huge news for our region.

Dutch clean mobility company Lightyear has come up with what might just be the holy grail of sustainable transport – the Lightyear One, a sleek-looking saloon with a range of 725km and a small battery that can be charged directly via sunlight or from conventional charging stations.

The company says: “The roof and hood of Lightyear One comprise 5sq/m of integrated solar cells within safety glass so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents. As a result, Lightyear One charges itself whenever it absorbs daylight.”
Effective Solar Cells
Unlike conventional solar panels, the 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. 

The solar roof and hood charge up to 12km/h in the sun. Your climate and driving frequency will determine the percentage of your mileage this can give you. Someone driving the national average of 20,000 km/year in a cloudy country would get about 40 per cent of their mileage from solar energy. For a country, such as Bahrain, which experiences almost constant sunshine, this could be as much as 100 per cent. 

Designed With Purpose
The company says: “Lightyear One was crafted to do more than just appeal to the eye. We took nothing for granted and reevaluated every component of the car. As a result, its Italian design doesn’t just look pretty. Every detail is engineered to improve efficiency and safety.

“We didn’t just rethink design, but what performance means. We built Lightyear One from the ground up to perform well over distance. Lightyear was sparked by long treks through the Outback and uninhabited tundra on solar power. Performance, for us, means that freedom of the open road.”

Engineered for Efficiency 
The efficiency of Lightyear One means better performance from any charging outlet in less time. Through fast charging, you can reach 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. The solar roof and hood are designed to withstand high temperatures when charging, with no loss of efficiency.

The vehicle also has a solution to accidentally running out of battery. You can drive 15-20km/h on what the solar roof and hood absorb from daylight, getting you to an outlet with no roadside assistance required.

Energy use: 83 Wh/km (WLTP)
Acceleration: 0-100 in 10 seconds
Dimensions (L x W x H): 5057 x 1898 x 1426 mm
Seating: Five adults: two in front, three in back
Luggage space: Normal: 780L, Extended: 1701L, Centre console: 12L
Drive: Four in-wheel motors
Over the air software updates
Companion app
Wireless key
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto