Lightyear 2: 800 km Range for This Self-Charging Solar Car

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Following the impressive Lightyear 0, a Dutch manufacturer unveils its second solar electric car, the Lightyear 2, through a series of images at the CES in Las Vegas. Its price is expected to be unbeatable, with the brand mentioning a cost of around 40,000 euros.

If you have been following automotive news closely, you are likely familiar with Dutch company Lightyear, a manufacturer specializing in solar electric vehicles. We have already had the chance to test drive their first model, the Lightyear 0. Production of this large sedan has also recently started at the Valmet Automotive factory in Finland. For several months, there has been talking of the arrival of a much more affordable model from Lightyear. Indeed, with a price tag of around 300,000 euros for the Lightyear 0 and a limited production of only 1,000 units, this model is not within reach for everyone.

A CAR THAT IS ALREADY VERY ANTICIPATED

The Lightyear 2 model, which will be available in the near future, was officially announced by Lightyear at CES 2023 with a series of images. The Dutch company has even set up a waiting list for interested customers, although they are not yet able to reserve the car. Registered customers, however, will be able to pre-order the car first. Lightyear also claims to have received 21,000 pre-orders for its new model from various international car rental and carpooling partners such as LeasePlan, MyWheels, Arval, and Athlon. As the images show, the Lightyear 2 will look similar to the Lightyear 0.

The main difference will be the price, as Lightyear estimates that it will be sold for around 40,000 euros (probably excluding taxes or 48,000 euros including taxes) in Europe, almost ten times less than the Lightyear 0. Production of the car is expected to begin in 2025. However, it is still more expensive than the Aptera.

There are still many questions surrounding this intriguing car, particularly regarding its technology. How has Lightyear managed to divide the price of a car by ten using “practically” the same technologies? The democratization of technology and mass production are likely to be the main factors behind this price drop, as well as smaller dimensions, and research and development into lower-cost materials and manufacturing costs. For now, we simply know that the car will be able to seat five passengers, will have a large trunk space, and will have the same ground clearance as an SUV. Will the car retain the famous architecture of four motors, one per wheel, with its exceptional performance?

800 KM RANGE

According to Lightyear, its second model “will make electric driving accessible and practical at a more affordable price than other long-range electric vehicles.” The company describes its next car as “the vehicle that will democratize solar electric driving.”The Lightyear 2 is set to make solar electric driving more accessible to the masses. It has an estimated range of over 800 kilometers on a full charge, with the potential for solar energy to further extend its range. According to the Dutch company, the Lightyear 2 will need three times less time to charge compared to other electric vehicles in its segment.

Lightyear also promises the lowest operating costs and a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the vehicle compared to a traditional electric car. It is worth noting that the arrival of this ambitious car is also the result of a massive new investment within the company. In fact, Invest-NL, an organization that finances more sustainable Dutch companies and projects, has just released 81 million euros to boost development. In total, and including all received investments, Lightyear has a budget of 210 million euros to carry out its projects.

THE LIGHTYEAR 0 IN NUMBERS

Here are some key facts about the THE LIGHTYEAR 0:

  • Range: The Lightyear 0 has a range of up to 725 kilometers on a single charge.
  • Charging time: It takes about 10 hours to fully charge the car using a regular household outlet, or about an hour using a fast charger.
  • Solar panels: The car is equipped with solar panels on the roof and hood that can generate up to 12 kilometers of range per day, even on cloudy days.
  • Performance: The Lightyear 0 has a top speed of 140 km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in about 10 seconds.
  • Price: The Lightyear 0 is priced at around 400,000 euros, including taxes.
  • Production: Lightyear plans to begin production of the Lightyear 0 in 2023, with a limited number of units available initially. The company aims to ramp up production over time to meet demand.

Meanwhile, by analyzing the data from Lightyear 0, we should have some answers about Lightyear 2. The Lightyear 0 has several solar panels on its roof, which are capable of generating around 1 kWh of electricity, equivalent to about 70 kilometers of range per day under good sunlight conditions. The sedan has a 60 kWh battery and can travel 625 kilometers according to the WLTP cycle. The brand explains that it is possible to recover up to 520 kilometers in one hour on a 50 kW fast charger.

Clearly, Lightyear is making a significant effort to improve charging for its second model, based on what they are announcing. In general, the term “solar car” is a bit of a misnomer, as it is actually an electric car with solar panels added. There is also significant aerodynamic work around the vehicle and work to reduce weight. Lightyear announces only 1.5 tons on the scale for its large sedan, about the same weight as a Renault Zoé. This justifies the considerable range of this model, as we noted during our test drive, at 110 km/h, Lightyear announces a range of 560 km with a consumption of 10.5 kWh. While at 130 km/h (and 10°C), the prototype was able to travel 400 km on a single charge. That’s pretty good for a car with a battery that isn’t necessarily very large for its category.

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