Lightyear describes it as the world’s most efficient driveline for mass production. Four specially developed hub motors will enable 70 kilometers of daily driving through electricity from solar cells.
If you want to build a car that runs as far as possible on electricity from built-in solar cells, the pursuit of losses is a must. Dutch Lightyear has taken on that task.
Lightyear recently presented the production-ready version of the company’s first model. The car was shown for the first time in 2019 and was then called Lightyear One. Now the name has been changed to Lightyear 0, which should better symbolize the quest for a low carbon footprint.
It has been clear from the beginning that the car will be equipped with hub motors, but now it is clear that they will be delivered by the Slovenian electric motor manufacturer Elaphe, which specializes in hub motors.
Efficiency of 97 percent
Lightyear and Elaphe have jointly developed the driveline, which the companies believe will be the world’s most efficiently adapted for series production. The four engines, one in each wheel, achieve an efficiency of 97 percent according to a blog post. It is also high for being an electric motor, but it is not clear for which speed the value applies.
The advantages of hub motors are, among other things, that the vehicle can be designed with greater freedom and that a reduction gear or gearbox is not needed. The disadvantage is that the vehicle has a larger unsprung mass, which risks impairing the driving characteristics and that the engines become more exposed to weather and other things.
The car is covered with five square meters of solar cells that a sunny spring or summer day in southern Spain should contribute with a charge equivalent to 70 kilometers of driving. The range from the energy in the battery of 60 kWh is stated at 625 kilometers according to the WLTP driving cycle.
Energy consumption is a modest 10.5 kWh per 100 kilometers, about half compared to a normal electric car. An important reason for this is the air resistance coefficient of only 0.19, lower than the Mercedes EQS which is considered to be the world’s most aerodynamic production car.
The specifications are impressive but still slightly worse than what Lightyear promised in 2019. At that time, the company mentioned a range of 725 kilometers and consumption of 8.3 kWh / 100 km. The price has also risen significantly over the same period, from 149,000 to 250,000 euros, ie close to SEK 2.7 million.
The car will be manufactured by Valmet in Finland. Production is scheduled to start later this year.
Lightyear 0 is one of a series of solar-equipped electric cars presented in recent years. Among others are three-wheeled Aptera and Sono Motors Sion.