The car, which can drive for free, goes into production. Lightyear 0 but stands like Ferrari

Originally it was supposed to start last year, in the end the production version of the first solar car will show up on the threshold of this summer. The Dutch Lightyear has completed a six-year development of a car that, in ideal conditions, can also drive for free, only thanks to the sun’s rays. However, the cheaper the operation can be, the more expensive it is to acquire an aerodynamic model: cheaper supersports would be cheaper.

Lightyear boss Lex Hoefsloot calls it the most sustainable car in the world, using the term “new driving era” when the prototype was introduced three years ago. A model with a simple designation of 0, ie zero, could really represent a car revolution, because no carmaker has yet brought solar drive into series production. The Dutch are real pioneers in this. But in order to move from words to deeds, they will also need ideal weather conditions.

On the body, specifically the hood, roof and trunk lid, Lightyear 0 carries five square meters of solar panels, which are curved and protected by special glass. In ideal conditions, as the manufacturer himself says, the sun’s rays deliver up to 70 kilometers per day (a maximum of 10 km can be charged per hour). In total, they could deliver 6 to 11 thousand kilometers a year, but the footnote already states that the maximum value is an estimate for the south of Spain, but may vary for other parts of the world.

And even in the sunny part of the Iberian Peninsula, it is a bold value: after all, for a driver to gain 11,000 kilometers a year, recharging 70 kilometers a day would mean over 157 ideal “charging” days.

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In reality, it will probably be possible to get a little less from the sun’s rays, but even so, it could be enough for the occasional daily commute around the city in some parts of the world, and the car would not have to stand so often at the charging station. Lightyear even claims that with an average daily mileage of 35 km, the car would not have to charge for two months in the Netherlands in the summer and even up to seven months in Spain or Portugal.

The manufacturer also states that it is possible to obtain 625 kilometers from the mains alone, with a battery capacity of 60 kWh. It is significantly more than the electric cars of renowned brands can get from a similarly large battery, which the Dutch car owes mainly to top aerodynamics. The air resistance coefficient Cd is less than 0.19, which is one of the best values ​​among all cars.

All wheels are driven, as each has its own electric motor. Lightyear states a maximum output of around 130 kW, but the highest torque is up to 1720 Nm. From 0 to 100 km / h, the car weighs 1,575 kilograms to accelerate in ten seconds and will start at a maximum of 160 km / h, although the highway speed is also referred to as 110 km / h in the press materials – it consumes 10.5 kWh / 100 km.

However, the more than five-meter Lightyear 0 does not give the innovative drive free of charge. A total of only 946 cars will be created, each with a price of at least 250,000 euros without tax, which means about 6.175 million crowns. According to the manufacturer, such a high price is to help bring a new form of mobility to market and at the same time move towards a more massive Lightyear 2 model, which could cost as little as € 30,000 and could start production in late 2024 or early 2025. The manufacturer will start this autumn and the first cars will reach customers in November.

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The car’s cabin, 5083 mm long, 1972 mm wide and 1445 mm high, offers space for a total of five people and 640 liters of their luggage. The clear height of 183 mm is interesting, and many SUVs do not have one. The design of both the interior and exterior is relatively modest and does not pay much attention to the progress of the drive. Perhaps only cameras instead of mirrors, the aerodynamic shape of the rear part and the partially covered rear wheels (a detail that can be removed, which, however, deprives the owner of a 12 km range) are among the more eccentric design elements.

The body panels are made of carbon fiber, the cabin for change, in addition to the central 10.1-inch display, is dominated by vegan and natural materials, rattan wood and microfiber seat upholstery. The car’s equipment for a quarter of a million euros also includes parking sensors, a reversing camera, a rain sensor, air conditioning, heated front seats, navigation, digital alarms or unlocking with a smartphone. The warranty is eight years or 200 thousand kilometers.

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