the electric car that runs for 7 months without charging?

You may not have heard of it, but the Lightyear 0 is a project that has been running for several years on the side of Dutch Brabant, more specifically in Helmond. The small Dutch brand has been working on its electric sedan equipped with solar panels for six years. A ‘world first’ that clearly isn’t as the Fisker Karma, to name just one, has already paved the way for cars equipped with photovoltaic panels. But the numbers that Lightyear puts forward are impressive: this futuristic-looking car can last up to seven months without charging, of course under ideal conditions. But is it also possible in real life? The few technical data communicated by the manufacturer might make us doubt, even if, as you can imagine, we would like to try to leave the Lightyear 0 in direct sunlight for a few days to calculate the stored energy and use it on a more “long-term” arrangement.

The electric car that doesn’t charge?

You already know the term “self-charging” hybrid car, a transformation of the term “Full Hybrid” made popular by Toyota. The basic principle is somewhat similar for this Lightyear 0: the car “charges” itself. The principle is of course very different here.

The Dutch brand is based on the habits of European motorists, who travel an average of 35 km per day to confirm that its sedan could theoretically drive for seven months without being charged.

How ? Thanks to solar panels. Approximately 5 square meters of panels have been installed on the pavilion. Considering the average efficiency of a solar panel on a car (150 Wh/m², less than the 250 to 400 Wh/m² of an installation on a building), a nice sunny day would therefore make it possible to recover about 5 kWh of energy. gain , at best (perfectly clean panels, no shade), and without taking into account the conversion losses by the inverter to store them in the battery.

Lightyear 0 is a concentrate of the most efficient. All with a rather limited weight compared to the size: it is almost lighter than a thermos of this size!© Lightyear

With an announced average consumption of 10.5 kWh/100 on the highway (therefore probably slightly less in the urban cycle), the Lightear 0 could cover its 35 km per day without recharging, and even a little more: in optimal conditions , Lightyear speaks of 70 km of autonomy restored. In total, the Lightyear 0 could cover 11,000 km per year without plugging in the plug. On paper anyway.

However, the solar panels that are placed on the roof of a car are not ideally oriented, unlike those on the roof of a house. And then there’s the consumption: the figure that Lightyear puts forward is theoretical and comes from the approval cycle. In real life it will necessarily be superior.

In other words, the range of 70 km seems very ambitious at first glance, but this does not necessarily affect the ability of the Lightyear 0 to cover the average daily journey of a European thanks to its solar panels. It is of course necessary that the sedan is parked in a free street, without trees or constructions that can provide shade if the sun is not completely vertical.

A Lightyear 0 reserved for a wealthy public

Thanks to its 60 kWh battery and its favorable aerodynamics due to a Cx of 0.19 (the SCx is not communicated, but the frontal area appears smaller), the Lightyear 0, which weighs only 1575 kg, has a range of 625 km , including 560 km on the highway at 110 km/h. Lightyear never looked for performance with its first production model, which thanks to four engines (one per wheel) develops barely 176 hp. A conscious choice for sobriety for a sedan that reaches 100 km/h in 10 seconds.

The buyer therefore chooses the Lightyear 0 more for its technological choices and its autonomy than for its crazy times. But for € 250,000 the ticket, it will be necessary for the customer to be easy and live in a very sunny country if possible. Not in the Netherlands, in short…

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