The Lightyear One solar-assisted electric car will achieve impressive range without a massive battery pack, its maker claims.
In a recent video showing high-speed testing of the One's bespoke Bridgestone tires, Lightyear said the car achieved energy consumption "as low as" 141 watt-hours per kilometer at 130 kph (81 mph). That's equivalent to more than 4.4 miles per kilowatt-hour.
With the One's 60-kwh battery pack, that amounts to 264 miles of range. That's a respectable figure with a battery pack no larger than the ones in many current EVs. At less rapid rates, Lightyear claims a range of about 440 miles based on previous track tests.
Lightyear One validation prototype
In designing its first production vehicle, Lightyear has emphasized efficiency over battery size. The specially developed Bridgestone tires are part of it, as is a claimed drag coefficient of less than 0.20. The Lightyear One also uses integrated solar panels to boost range. The intent is that with less emphasis on charge rate and more on solar power and efficiency, Lightyear's EVs will effectively "leapfrog the grid."
Lightyear in December announced the Two, a second model it hopes to offer under subscription. While production of the One is expected to start this summer at Valmet Automotive in Finland, the more affordable Two isn't scheduled to arrive until 2024 or early 2025.
Mercedes recently showed that it's thinking about some of the same ideas as it develops compact and midsize models for later in the decade. The Vision EQXX concept unveiled earlier this year uses aerodynamic bodywork, taller tires, and a solar roof to achieve a claimed range of 621 miles with a battery pack of less than 100 kwh.