Lightyear One - The 1st Solar Car?
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
Lightyear One – how would I describe it? It’s a car. It’s a practical EV, with lots of PV cells on the surface.
Pic: Lightyear One, the Solar Powered EV
Yep. The first attempt of a Solar Powered Passenger Car. And they made it.
It Started From WSC
Over ten years ago, a group of university students did experiments and made a “car” for WSC (World Solar Challenge) with a tight budget, named "Stella" (left). I wouldn’t take it on the road, but it’s a good go. They won the practical usage category (practical car alike) in 2012-13.
The difference is, it was a “real” Solar Car made for the WSC experiment race, "Stella". It’s now a solar electric vehicle or solar-powered car (I would say a Solar Assisted EV), Lightyear One.
The way they do it is simple—the largest possible areas of high efficient solar cells, the most efficient motor of an aerodynamic design EV. The product is a highly efficient solar electric vehicle. It is very energy efficient, in particular, the extending range with solar cells addition. Our solar gain calculator shows that it may become “off-grid” for everyday use if you have enough sunlight (just 4-5 hours daily, avg up to 35km daily driving) or just a few recharges a year.
Now, they got fundings, investors and created a beautiful EV. It is very energy efficient, in particular, the extending range with solar cells addition. You'll probably have no more range anxiety. I would love to get one.
But. Why Is There Always A "But"?
It priced at €150,000 (US$170,000 - $180,000). The performance (speed) from 0-60mph takes “just under 10s”. It has solar panels covering the bonnet, roof, and back Windows (yes, it has no rear windows). It began production for “pioneers” and expects delivery in Summer 2022.
For comparison, the cheapest Tesla Model 3 SR+ is selling US$39,490, 0-60mph is 5.3s (Model 3 Performance is 3.3s; a 2019 Toyota Corolla can do 10s), and with windows all over.
It is not yet a Solar Electric Vehicle. It is only a Solar Assisted EV.
Are You A Pioneer
I think you’ve got to be a real “pioneer” to become one of its prototype's 900+ pre-ordered customers. Solar Car or Solar Electric Vehicle (SEV) is going to be a long journey.