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World’s first long-range solar electric vehicle revealed

The Lightyear One is a long-range solar electric car. Co-created by Bridgestone and Lightyear, it will begin testing in quarter two of this year.

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Jack Quick
Jack Quick

An all-electric vehicle powered partly by the sun is expected to hit the road by the end of this year.

Born from a partnership between Bridgestone and Lightyear, the Lightyear One solar electric car has been revealed.

Using technology once reserved for experimental competitors in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, the Lightyear One will bring this tech to consumers.

The Lightyear One has a claimed range of 725km on the WLTP cycle. Its battery size hasn’t been revealed, but it features a five-square-metre solar array on its roof.

It’s one of the few electric cars that can be charged by either solar energy or by plugging into an AC or DC charger.

An hour of charge will get you:

  • Solar: 12km
  • 3.7kW at 230V: 35km
  • 22kW: 209km
  • 60kW: 570km

Powered by four independently-controlled in-wheel electric motors, the Lightyear One has a total peak torque of 1920Nm.

Developed by Bridgestone, it rides on custom-engineered Turanza Eco tyres that have a very low rolling resistance. There’s an overall weight reduction of 3.6kg by these tyres over standard rubber to help boost range.

Boasting a record-breaking drag coefficient of 0.20 (same as the new Mercedes-Benz EQS) the Lightyear One is the most aerodynamic five-seaters to date. It also includes 780L of storage space. 

Measuring 5057mm long, 1898mm wide and 1426mm tall, the Lightyear One is a similar length to the Tesla Model X.

The Lightyear One comes standard with the following features:

  • Over-the-air software updates
  • Keyless entry
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Central armrest
  • Three ISOFIX anchor points

Testing is set to commence in the second quarter of 2021. It’s also set to be commercially available by the end of this year.

The Lightyear One is expected to rival the Sono Motors Sion, which can also be powered by solar energy.

This MPV-style electric car is capable of charging an equivalent of 245km from solar energy alone per week.

The Sion is expected to start production in 2023, with the company taking European preorders now.

In Australia, a project from the CSIRO, Nissan Australia, and Delta Electronics is investigating solar modules capable of charging four vehicles at a time in Dandenong, Victoria.

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Jack Quick
Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an emerging automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Jack recently graduated from Deakin University and has previously competed in dance nationally. In his spare time, Jack likes to listen to hyperpop and play Forza Horizon.

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