Formerly known as the Lightyear One, the car that is partially powered by the sun’s energy to move has just been officially unveiled in a production version. However, there was a small change in the program during this presentation.
Indeed, the car, whose first copies will be delivered before the end of the year, is now called Lightyear 0, a change probably due to the Phase 0 that the two co-founders of this Dutch startup are talking about, this phase that consists in building and delivering the first copies of this “solar” car.
There are also some design changes, including redesigned bumpers, new headlights and taillights, an illuminated badge in the center of the front bumper, new side handles integrated into the doors, new aerodynamic wheels and even new cameras housed in the front fenders, which replace the side mirrors for a rather impressive aerodynamic coefficient of less than 0.19. The option to partially cover the rear wheels is still available, for those who would like a car that is reminiscent of those solar cars designed by university teams.
Inside, the dashboard is very linear, although the addition of those ventilation nozzles almost gives it a conventional car feel, while the central screen is installed over the buttons of the gearbox that controls the four-wheel motors… electric of course! There are also these two screens installed at the ends of the dashboard, which display what the cameras are monitoring in the blind spots. Since this is an “environmental” car, the leather used for the upholstery is vegetable-based, while the fabrics come from recycled bottles and sustainable rattan wood elements.
The manufacturer claims a range of 625 km according to the WLTP calculation cycle, which would mean a shorter distance in North America. However, solar panels on the roof of the aerodynamic sedan can add up to an additional 70 km in sunny conditions, and 35 km when it’s cloudier outside. The company also claims that its car consumes only 10.5 kWh/100 km.
In cases where users don’t drive their car much – about 35 km per day – it would even be possible to run on solar power for up to two months before having to recharge the vehicle at an electric charging station.
There is, however, one slight obstacle to this revolutionary car: The Lightyear 0 will command an entry price of €250,000 (or more than $336,000 Canadian depending on the exchange rate at the beginning of June. The good news – fortunately – is that the company intends to launch a Lightyear Two by 2025, a more compact car that would also be more affordable.