Automotive

Lightyear One hits the track for 710-km single-charge test drive

Lightyear One hits the track f...
The Lightyear One validation prototype was recently driven 710 km around a test track on a single charge of its 60-kWh battery (plus a contribution of 3.45 kWh from solar panels on the roof and hood)
The Lightyear One validation prototype was recently driven 710 km around a test track on a single charge of its 60-kWh battery (plus a contribution of 3.45 kWh from solar panels on the roof and hood)
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The Lightyear One validation prototype was recently driven 710 km around a test track on a single charge of its 60-kWh battery (plus a contribution of 3.45 kWh from solar panels on the roof and hood)
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The Lightyear One validation prototype was recently driven 710 km around a test track on a single charge of its 60-kWh battery (plus a contribution of 3.45 kWh from solar panels on the roof and hood)
During the (almost) nine-hour test drive, the Lightyear One consumed 85 Wh/km, and its solar panels managed to contribute 3.45 kWh of energy
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During the (almost) nine-hour test drive, the Lightyear One consumed 85 Wh/km, and its solar panels managed to contribute 3.45 kWh of energy
Official WLTP drive cycle testing is still to come, along with other homologation testing, ahead of limited production in early 2022
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Official WLTP drive cycle testing is still to come, along with other homologation testing, ahead of limited production in early 2022
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In development since 2017, the Lightyear One solar EV made it to the pre-production prototype stage a couple of years later and promised a per-charge range of 725 km (450 miles) on the WLTP cycle. Now the development team has taken its validation prototype to a test track in Germany, where it clocked up 710 km on a single charge of the 60-kWh battery.

Where the Sion family car from Germany's Sono Motors has solar cells integrated into the hood, roof, doors and rear, the Lightyear One five-seater packs PV panels into its roof and hood only.

Thanks to recent battery upgrade, the Sion is now reckoned good for between 255 to 305 km (158-190 miles) per charge, though the solar cells are only expected to contribute around 245 km (152 miles) of range per week so the family EV will still need to be plugged in. And it's a similar story for the Lightyear One, the integrated photovoltaics are estimated to contribute around a maximum of 12 km (7.45 miles) extra range for every hour in ideal sunbathing conditions.

That said, it's now proving to be quite the efficient drive, recently spending almost nine hours on the track at the Aldenhoven Testing Center at a speed of 85 km/h (52.8 mph) before its 60-kWh battery ran out of juice. By then it had clocked up some 710 km (441 miles).

"After four years of hard work and in-house development, this is a very important engineering and technological milestone," said co-founder and CEO, Lex Hoefsloot. "It validates the performance of our patented technology and truly shows that we are able to deliver on our promise to introduce the most efficient electric vehicle. This prototype has over 440 miles of range with an energy consumption of only 137 Wh/mile at 53 miles an hour. Even the most efficient electric cars in the market today consume around 50 percent more energy at this relatively low speed."

During the (almost) nine-hour test drive, the Lightyear One consumed 85 Wh/km, and its solar panels managed to contribute 3.45 kWh of energy
During the (almost) nine-hour test drive, the Lightyear One consumed 85 Wh/km, and its solar panels managed to contribute 3.45 kWh of energy

The company says that the full drive cycle has helped validate assumptions made about the vehicle's performance, and allowed for such things as yield measurement of the solar panels and other key metrics to be recorded. A total of 3.45 kWh of energy came from the PV cells during the test drive, for example, and overall energy consumption worked out at 85 Wh/km. The data gathered will inform upcoming improvements, with a view to achieving similar energy consumption levels at highway speeds.

"Lowering the energy consumption per mile of an EV means that you can provide a lot of range on a small battery," added Hoefsloot. "Because batteries are the most expensive part of an EV, you can lower the purchase price of the car and achieve affordable electric cars with a lot of range that don’t need a lot of charging. Low-energy consuming cars can also benefit a lot more from adding solar cells to the car and gain about 45 miles of charge on a sunny day."

This first validation test is not an official WLTP drive cycle test, that is still to come, along with such things as crash tests, as the company nears production-ready status. The first 946 vehicles are expected to go into production in the first half of 2022, ahead of entry into the mass market from 2024. The video below has more.

Lightyear One Performance Testing — Why it's the most efficient electric vehicle

Source: Lightyear

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9 comments
9 comments
paleochocolate
Needs some motorcycle wheels
Chuck Mulder
710 km on a single charge of the 60-kWh battery...motors must be very efficient
Skipjack
An average home installed PV system does about 500 Wh/m2 (facing south constantly). I am not sure about the exact metrics but I don't think that these are 7m2 worth of solar panels. Maybe they are some super special, super efficient ones? I am having a hard time believing 3.5 kWh.
Mike Vidal
This is barely 55Mph. This would not even qualify for the slow lane on the autobahn
Don Duncan
What effects efficiency most, more than all the other factors put together? Drag and weight. What platform has the lowest drag/weight? APTERA. How does Lightyear compare? They didn't give us those figures. I can see their design is less than optimal for drag. Is the curb weight around 1800 lbs? Aptera is. And Aptera uses motor-in-wheel. It can go 1000 miles, with PV assist of 40 miles/day.
Adrian Akau
Great improvement but in real life, the roads are not as smooth and are hilly plus you must carry passengers or groceries so that the actual results may be only a fraction of the test model. It is a good step in the right direction.
AbsolutJohn
I guess I share some other comments that those must be some super efficient solar panels on that car. If that’s the case, then every single EV manufacturer should start installing them on the roof trunk and hood right now.
Dave222
@paleochoc......agree.....not everyone needs race car contact patches to commute to work. Lightyear is on the right track by using what appear in second image and video as skinny tyres....ie low rolling resistance. When a Tesla passes you on a quite street, the tyre noise is horrendous! Low profile wide performance rubber great for lap times at Nurburgring, not as optimal as could be for mileage. However, perhaps the slick look plus wicked performance of Tesla is important for mass acceptance of electric power trains by motoring enthusiasts.

@ don duncan......easy tiger! Aptera is awesome.....but.....the micro car museum in England is full of failed teardrop shaped cars that all sought to be the salvation of urban enclosed transportation. The boffins that prioritised aero over asthetics didnt understand how the masses go shopping. Even Lightyear's slight aero speedtail is a little jarring in design asthetic.....so they need to be careful if they want it to go mainstream. Slow changes to the known shapes and looks are required. Tesla is proving that cars sell on looks, interior, convenient features, performance, safety then economy. Teardrop aero economy is the last thing on the mass buyers radar.....they wouldnt be seen dead in an Aptera, even if it was given to them. Its much more important to pick up a prom date in something that resembles American muscle, otherwise your saying : " Hey I'm Doc Brown's nerd lovechild and would like to make out on the bonnet of my Aptera, but we cant because we may damage a photo voltaic cell and my weekly mileage will be compromised so well just go out for a mineral water instead."
ljaques
I'll bet that all 946 adoptees of those cars opts to have it wrapped just like that, too. LOL I wish 'em luck, though.