800 km of autonomy for this self-charging solar car

After the spectacular Lightyear 0, the Dutch manufacturer uses CES in Las Vegas to present its second solar electric car through a series of images: the Lightyear 2. Its price must be incredible, because the brand is talking about 40,000 euros.

If you follow automotive news closely, you probably haven’t missed Dutch company Lightyear, a manufacturer of solar-powered electric cars.

We’ve already been able to drive their first model, the Lightyear 0. Production of this large sedan has also recently started at the Valmet Automotive plant in Finland.

We’ve been talking about the arrival of a more affordable model at Lightyear for several months now. Indeed, about 300,000 euros were claimed for the Lightyear 0, and production was limited to only 1,000 copies. this model is not within the reach of all budgets.

The long-awaited car

On the other hand, the upcoming model will be a bit more. Indeed, on the occasion of CES 2023, Lightyear has officially announced the arrival of Lightyear 2 through a series of images. The Dutch firm even opened a kind of queue for interested customers without allowing them to order. However, registered customers can pre-order it first.

Lightyear also claims to have received pre-orders 21,000 copies is launching its new model through several international rental and car sharing partners such as LeasePlan, MyWheels, Arval and Athlon.

As you can see from these first images, Lightyear 2 will look like Lightyear 0. The big difference will be in price, as Lightyear estimates it will be launched in approx €40,000 in Europe (excluding taxes, ie €48,000 including tax)that’s almost ten times less than Lightyear 0. The production of the car is expected to start in 2025. However, we are above the Aptera in terms of price.

However, there are still many questions about this interesting car, especially regarding its technology. How was Lightyear able to cut the price of a car into ten parts using the same technologies? Research and development around smaller sizes or lower materials and production costs should be key drivers for the democratization of technology and large-scale production.

For now, we only know that the car will seat five passengers, have a nice trunk volume, and have the same ground clearance as an SUV. Will the car adopt the popular architecture of four motors, one per wheel, with exceptional performance?

About 800 km distance

According to Lightyear, his second model “will make electric driving accessible and convenient at a more affordable price than other long-range electric vehicles”. This is how the company describes its next car “The tool that will democratize solar electric driving”. Lightyear estimates a greater range 800 kilometers with a full charge, solar energy can double the autonomy.

Yet according to the Dutch company, Lightyear 2 takes three times less time to charge compared to any other electric vehicle in its segment. Lightyear also promises the lowest operating costs and a 50% reduction in CO emissions.2 over the lifetime of the vehicle compared to a conventional electric vehicle.

We must also remember that the arrival of this ambitious car is also the result of a major new investment within the company. Indeed, Invest-NL, an organization that finances more sustainable Dutch companies and projects, has allocated €81 million to boost development. In total and combining all investments received, Lightyear can count on an envelope worth 210 million euros to implement its projects.

Light Year 0 in a few digits

Meanwhile, using the Lightyear 0 figures, we should have some answers about Lightyear 2. Lightyear 0 is equipped with several solar panels on the roof. They can produce about 1 kWh of electricity. This is roughly equal 70 kilometers of autonomy per day when sunlight conditions are right.

The sedan has a battery 60 kWh and can look 625 kilometers According to the WLTP cycle. The brand explains that it is possible to travel up to 520 kilometers in one hour on a 50 kW fast terminal. It’s clear that Lightyear is going to put a lot of effort into filling out their second model, given what they’ve announced. In general, the name “solar car” is somewhat usurped, since it is an electric car with solar panels attached.

There is also real aerodynamic work around the car and also working on weight reduction. Lightyear touts its large sedan, which weighs practically the same as the Renault Zoé, at just 1.5 tonnes on the scale.

This justifies the significant autonomy of this model, as we noted during the test, at a speed of 110 km/h, Lighyear declares a range of 560 km for a consumption of 10.5 kWh. At a speed of 130 km/h (and at 10°C), the prototype could travel 400 km on a single charge. That’s pretty decent for a car with a battery that’s not necessarily too big for its category.

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The German company Sono Motors presents the Zion. It’s an electric car covered in photovoltaic panels like the Lightyear 0 or the Aptera. It should sell for around 25,000 euros.
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