The Lightyear One features a range of 725km and can harness the power of the sun to keep its 60kWh battery topped up.

solar-powered electric car – which, according to its maker, can drive for “months” without needing to recharge – is one step closer to production.

The Lightyear One, a solar-powered electric vehicle designed in the Netherlands and recently tested in Italy, completed 400km on a single charge while driving at a constant speed of 130km/h.

Regular driving will result in range of 725km (WLTP), according to the manufacturer.

But, perhaps the maker’s greatest claim is that the Lightyear One can, theoretically, be driven “for months without charging”.

Thanks to its array of solar panels harvesting energy from the sun to charge the 60kWh battery, the Lightyear One is, according to its maker, able to live off-the-grid.

Five square metres of solar panels cover the One’s roof, bonnet and tail and are capable of harnessing up to 12km of range every hour. That means during a sunny eight hour workday, a parked up Lightyear One could harvest 96km of driving range – more than enough for most people’s commutes.

Even in cloudy conditions, its maker claims the Lightyear One that around 40km of range can be harvested.

Even without harnessing the power of the sun, the Lightyear One’s 60kWh battery array provides a claimed 725km of range, making it, according to the manufacturer, the most energy efficient electric vehicle on the market.

“If we compare with other vehicles right now, Lightyear One can drive one and a half times further than a directly-comparable vehicle with the same battery size,” said Megan Parfitt, Lightyear One’s Vehicle Test Coordinator.

The recent 130km/h test returned a figure of 14.1kWh/100km. That number drops to 8.3kWh/100km over normal driving conditions, according to the manufacturer.

That efficiency is achieved through the Lightyear One’s kerb weight of just 1315kg thanks to its construction consisting largely of aluminium and carbon-fibre.

And its tear-drop shaped body is designed for slipping through the air, the Lightyear One wearing a drag coefficient of 0.20cd.

Four electric motors, one at each wheel, provide the motivation. Together, they produce a combined 101kW and 1200Nm. Lightyear One says its five-seater sedan is built for cruising and efficiency, not speed and claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of around 10 seconds.

The Lightyear One is being manufactured in Finland. First deliveries, restricted to Europe,  are expected to start mid-2022. It’s priced at €150,000 (AUD$238,000). Just 946 cars will be built.

The company is already working on a more affordable solar-powered electric vehicle. With a starting price of €30,000 (AUD$47,600), the Lightyear Two is expected to go on sale in 2024/25.

Few details are known, however, global automotive leasing company, LeasePlan, recently reserved 5000 Lightyear Twos to add to its fleet of 1.8 million vehicles.

Extracted in full from: Solar-powered electric car that can be driven ‘for months without charging’ goes on sale – Drive

 

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