• Aniket Chakraborty

Lightyear One - Future of Automobile

There was a time when people used to spin the crank of the engine and initiate the process of the internal combustion. The drivers in the early era of cars must have had a hard time when they were asked to drive one, thanks to some pretty dated technology. Fast forward to the 21st century, we do not even need a key to initiate the internal combustion process. Talking about ICE (Internal Combustion Engine), it might as well soon be replaced with electric motors, powering the entire circuitry and the vehicle.

 

The transition from ICE to fully electric cars has already begun, thanks to Tesla. The major setback for electric vehicles has always been the range and the time required to charge the car from 0 to 100%. Unlike Combustion engines which can fuel up pretty quick, electric engines need somewhere about 5-6 hours on a typical charge output. Fast charging stations are not available everywhere and that remains a concern.


Having said and considered all this, we might have, in our hands, the future of the automobile industry: A Solar-powered Electric vehicle.

Lightyear One is the first fully functional solar-powered electric vehicle to be showcased at the Goodwill Festival of Speed 2019 and will possibly be on streets by the end of 2021.


Also read: Importance of Solar Energy


Internal Combustion Engines contribute to more than 12% of the greenhouse gases released in the air. That is quite a massive number when compared to the world stats of pollution. Lightyear, the company, is a sole believer that they can harness the power of the sun and provide clean energy mobility to everyone and everywhere.

Lightyear was founded in 2016 by the members of the Solar Team Eindhoven, who won the World Solar Challenge race 2013, 2015 and 2017. They are a team of highly trained engineers who believe that they can use the sun as a fuel for transportation. Lightyear One is the first of their proud creation and they hope to travel a distance of lightyear on solar power by the end of 2035.

Lightyear One – A Technical Marvel

Lightyear has managed to ram all the good things in their first project car: starting from the design to performance and safety, you can find it all. Although attempts have been made to create solar-powered vehicles before, this car has a high chance of harnessing the sun.

  • The four wheels get individual electric motors, which provides high performance along with great efficiency. The four motors mean that a small battery is required to store the solar energy and together, it can provide a range of around 450 miles or 725 km on the WLTP (World harmonized Light vehicle Test Procedures) cycle.

  • It has also been reported that the solar panels mounted on top of the car can generate more than 35 miles of range on a summer day. However, you will reap the maximum benefits if you happen to live in the middle of a desert.

  • The solar panels have been laid out artistically on top of the car (5 square meters) which follows a sweeping tail design to harness the maximum energy from the sun and provide less drag. The makers claim that the car has been mainly made of aluminium and carbon fibre to minimize the weight and maximize the range. It looks futuristic and certainly a treat to the eyes if you happen to spot one on the streets.


Minimal, yet elegant interior
  • The interior of the car has been wonderfully done with a minimal, yet functional design. As it with electric cars, there is a central console which houses a massive screen where all the information about the car (and possibly surroundings) is displayed. I would not be too surprised even if the information mentions about the solar flares happening all the time on the surface of the sun.

  • Lightyear claims that with a standard 230V charging outlet, you can easily charge for a range of 350 km overnight. With a fast-charging outlet, one hour of charge will equal to 570 km of range. Their panels also function independently which means that if one of the panels stay in the shadow, the other ones can continue absorbing the storing the charge. That is pretty neat. It remains to be seen how well the claims do justice in the real world.


Concerned about performance and numbers? Visit https://lightyear.one/lightyear-one/

Loved the car too much? Visit https://lightyear.one/reserve/to reserve yours.

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