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Lightyear One solar powered car

Solar-powered car promises 725km max range

Image credit: Lightyear One

A solar-powered car that can supposedly travel 725km on a single charge has been unveiled by a Dutch start-up.

Lightyear, which was founded in 2016, described its vehicle as a “new era of driving” and said the prototype vehicle took around two years to build.

Dubbed Lightyear One, the vehicle has been engineered with efficiency in mind to get as long a range as possible out of the battery.

The body is constructed mainly from aluminium and carbon fibre materials to keep weight down, while the body has been fine-tuned to maximise aerodynamics and reduce drag.

Lightyear One - Front view

Image credit: Lightyear One

Its bonnet and roof are comprised of solar cells that charge the inbuilt battery and is expected to be delivered in 2021, with a reservation fee of €119,000 (£106,000).

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear said: “Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market.

“The next models we plan to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users.

“Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price per kilometre.”

Lightyear One - Open doors

Image credit: Lightyear One

He also said that the creation of the car was influenced by the need to respond to climate change.

“Lightyear One represents a huge opportunity to change mobility for the better. For centuries, we have lived in balance with nature. With the technologies of today, we have the opportunity to do so again.

“By starting from scratch and using the laws of nature as a guideline, nature becomes our greatest ally in developing ultra-efficient designs.”

The prototype car is propelled by four independently driven wheels, which the firm says means no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.

It can also be charged using regular plug sockets as well as at charging stations.

The start-up confirmed the first 100 units of the Lightyear One have already been reserved, but 500 in total are to be produced initially.

Lightyear has around 100 employees in its ranks, including former employees of Tesla and Ferrari, and it has opened its own production facility in Helmond.

“A third, final step will be to provide truly sustainable cars that are more affordable to use than the cost of gas you need to drive a combustion car,” Hoefsloot said.

“This will prove to be our most important tipping point in the near future and it will pave the way for a car fleet that is 100 per cent sustainable.”

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