Lightyear is the world’s first long-range solar electric vehicle properly powered by the sun which can run for months without needing to charge. The week before it was set for production in Europe, Greenergy was welcomed into the Lightyear research and development facility at the Automotive Campus in Helmond in the Netherlands.
This region in Western Europe touted as the smartest in the world, having the greatest number of patents and inventions per capita more than Silicon Valley, houses Lightyear’s headquarters.
Built with vehicle ultra-energy efficiency in mind by its founders from the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in the Netherlands, the story began with the solar car challenge: the 3,000++ kilometres race among solar vehicles across the Australian outback. In 2013, the group of TU/e students with their early solar car prototype, joined the competition’s new cruiser class which features road-ready, practical and usable, multi-seater designs. The students won every race since. In 2017, they decided to form a start-up to build a commercially viable version of the car which they now call Lightyear. Greenery CEO, Engr. Cerael Donggay and Director of Communications, Philline Donggay were toured by Lightyear executive Peter van Rooy in the building where all solar the magic happens.
Each of part of the Lightyear has been meticulously designed to allow it over 1000 kilometres in driving range, from its aerodynamic and lightweight body, to the innovative drive train with 4 independently controlled in-wheel motors, to its energy dense battery and thermal integration which reuses heat energy, and of course, five square meters worth of solar cells, each tile with its own curvature to fit the specific part of the Lightyear surface it was meant to cover. These solar cells are distributed to maximize solar harvest which is fed to high efficiency inverters to power the car for an additional of up to 70 kilometres in range every day.
“It is impressive feat to use solar technology for an electric vehicle, even more so with the combination of energy efficiency which optimizes a vehicle’s capacity,” said CEO Cerael Donggay. “This is not your average car—this is indeed a solar car and it is the future of all cars,” he added.
On the day of the visit, several Engineers were on the floor preparing for production not only of Lightyear 0, the current model but also of the upcoming models that will be made available to the market in the coming years.
“I’m excited to see the affordable versions of the Lightyear made available in other regions like Asia, especially in tropical countries like the Philippines which have an abundance of sunlight,” said Director Philline Donggay. “So many fossil fuel combustion cars can be replaced by this and the air would be much cleaner plus individuals who choose to be car owners can do their part for climate action,” Philline adds.
Beyond the technology, the car also comes with sustainable features such as vegan leather interiors and recycled body works showcasing the holistic, circular mindset of its founders in the car’s design and manufacturing.
“We are inspired with such innovation in solar technology and on behalf of the entire Greenergy team, we vow to take this learning and inspiration to our region in Mindanao to promote solar solutions further to our kababayans,” concludes CEO Cerael Donggay.
Lightyear 0 started production this week in Finland for European markets. In 2024, the Lightyear 2 will be made available in a more affordable price range.
Find out more about Lightyear below or visit their website at www.lightyear.one.
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