In 2019, Dutch EV startup Lightair first unveiled the concept of a smooth sedan with a wide range of in-wheel motors and solar panels on the hood and roof.
On Thursday, the company released a production version that has been confirmed as Light Year 0. It will enter production in the autumn and reach customers first in November.
The 0 has a 60-kilowatt-hour battery that the company claims will provide a 388-mile range in WLTP test cycles used outside the United States.
The key to high range with such a small battery is efficiency. In addition to having a less demanding drag coefficient of 0.19 Cd, which would be a record for a production vehicle (minimum Mercedes-Benz EQS 0.20 Cd), 0 also has efficient motors, inverters and tires.
Going with in-wheel motors means the company can save weight and space by eliminating things like transmissions and driveshafts. And those tires are a specially designed skinny set made by Bridgestone.
Light year 0
Light year 0
The car has a claimed efficiency rate of 10.5 kwh per 62 miles, which is close to the efficiency of Mercedes’ experimental Vision EQXX concept, which used 8.7 kwh per 62 miles during recent real-world testing.
But what about solar panels? The hood and roof have about 53 square feet of lining and with adequate access to sunlight they can charge at a rate of 1.05 kilowatts or enough to add a range of 6.2 miles per hour.
This means that with the battery fully charged, a Lightyear 0 as a commuter car can drive for several months without a potential charge, depending on the length of travel and access to sunlight.
The first 150 examples sold a special Pioneer version for 150,000 euros (about $ 159,000). The next in the series is a limited edition that can now be ordered and starts at 250,000 euros ($ 265,000). Lightyear 0 did not say whether it would be available in the United States
Production will be outsourced to Valmet Automotive in Finland, which built the original Fischer Karma sedan and contracted to build the Sono Sion, another EV that can be charged by solar panels.