Lightyear One EV Boasts 450 Miles of Range, Solar Power Charging

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【Summary】Dutch mobility company Lightyear has come up with a long-range prototype that can be charged directly from the sun. Unfortunately, it costs $135,000.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 06, 2019 6:00 AM PT
Lightyear One EV Boasts 450 Miles of Range, Solar Power Charging

If there's one head-scratching thing about electric vehicles, it's that the majority of the options on the road don't have solar panels. There's a big, bright ball in the air that is a clean source of energy, yet no one has really been able to harness the power source to boost range. With range still not on par with gasoline-powered cars and an obvious lack of charging stations, it seems like a massive missed opportunity. 

Solar Panels Help Segment-Leading Range

Dutch company Lightyear has come up with a solution and it's the One. The electric vehicle's roof is covered in solar panels that span approximately 16 square feet in length. The panels, according to the company, are 20 percent more efficient than ones available in other applications. Thanks to their capability, the solar panels can charge the EV's batteries at a rate of roughly 7.4 miles per hour. 

While recuperating 7.4 miles of range an hour isn't exactly quick, the Lightyear One can still charge in a similar fashion to a traditional EV. So instead of being a solar-powered vehicle, the One is more of an electric car that also happens to have functional solar panels, which is still saying a lot. 

When the time comes to actually charge the One, a 230-volt socket will add approximately 250 miles of charge in one night. But the electric car can support 60-kW fast charging, which would give it 315 miles of range in one hour. Mix that into the solar panels, and the One's charging capabilities are impressive. 

Impressive, Yet Pricey

Another impressive aspect of the One is Lightyear's focus on efficiency. With lightweight materials and a design that flows through the air, the One is capable of its impressive electric range. But the role that efficiency plays is more than just on the outside. While other brands fit their electric vehicles with one or two electric motors – one on each axle – Lightyear developed a system where each drive wheel will have its own electric motor. This is done in the hopes of reducing parasitic loss that the drivertrain usually suffers. 

Sure, the EV's range is on the WLTP cycle, which consistently results in more range than the EPA cycle we use in the U.S., we wouldn't be surprised to see the vehicle crack the 400-mile mark for range. That would put it above Tesla, which has become the leader of electric cars for consumers in the U.S. 

The company is looking to put the One on the road in Europe by 2021. Lightyear is currently accepting preorders for the first 500 units of the One for roughly $135,000. But that's not how much the vehicle costs. No, the starting price of the EV is reportedly around $170,000, which would make it one of the most expensive EVs on the market.

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