During an online global premiere today, solar EV startup Lightyear unveiled the final production-ready design of its first vehicle, the Lightyear 0, formerly known as the Lightyear One. After six years of development, the Lightyear 0 is available for order ahead of first deliveries this fall.
Lightyear is an EV startup based in the Netherlands that specializes in solar electric vehicles (SEVs). From early on, the company has promised a range of 450 miles on a single charge from its first vehicle – an ultraefficient flagship SEV originally named the Lightyear One.
Prototype testing of the Lightyear One resulted in several major milestones being met. Last summer, the Dutch automaker showcased a prototype that delivered 441 miles of range on a single charge.
Following durability testing last October, Lightyear claimed its SEV prototype would set a new standard in electric vehicle efficiency for the 946 customers it is planning to sell to.
In January, Lightyear provided further evidence of its upcoming SEV’s efficiency on a Bridgestone proving ground in Europe. While we have long been anticipating the arrival of Lightyear’s first SEV model, we got more than we anticipated during its official production design debut.
The Lightyear One has been renamed the Lightyear 0.
Lightyear 0: New name, same solar efficiency game
Lightyear shared news of the final design and new Lightyear 0 nomenclature in a press release following a global premiere event hosted online. Here, we learned some final confirmed specs available on the SEV as well as when consumers (in Europe) can expect to drive one.
Thanks to Lightyear’s patented solar panel technology, the Lightyear 0 will arrive equipped with five square meters of double-curved solar arrays. This solar technology can provide an additional 70 km (approximately 44 miles) of additional range per day and up to 11,000 km (6,835 miles) per year.
Inside the SEV, a 60 kWh battery pack delivers 625 km (288 mi) of WLTP range on a single charge. Combined with solar power, the Lightyear one can offer drivers up to 695 km (432 miles).
Lightyear points out that if you were to drive an average commute in the Netherlands of 50 km per day, you can drive over 1,000 km (620+ mi) on a single charge over the course of several days, thanks to the added range of the solar panels – more evidence of the Lightyear 0’s sustainability and efficiency.
But why the name change? Despite taking a numerical step back, Lightyear sees the 0 SEV as a step forward, past potential issues of future BEVs fighting for charging plugs. Co-founder and CEO Lex Hoefsloot elaborated:
Electric cars are a step in the right direction, but they have a scaling problem. By 2030, we can expect 84 million electric vehicles (EVs) on roads in Europe alone. There’s no hiding from it, access to charging stations will not keep up with the demand for electric cars. To minimize plug-charging and maximize range, the industry’s strategy, so far, has been to add batteries. That increases the carbon footprint of production and, in turn, boosts weight and the need for high-power charging stations. Our strategy flips that approach. Lightyear 0 delivers more range with less battery, reducing weight and CO₂ emissions per vehicle.
The Lightyear 0 is scheduled to enter production in Finland this fall with first deliveries expected as early as November 2022. You can now configure a Lightyear 0 of your own on the automaker’s website, starting at a price of €250,000 (approximately $265,000). As we’ve previously reported, Lightyear is only planning to produce 946 units of the Lightyear 0.
That being said, Lightyear has already begun teasing a second SEV model designed for high-volume production that will start at around €30,000 (approximately $32,000). That SEV, previously referred to as the Lightyear Two, is expected to enter production in late 2024 or early 2025.
Given the name change of the Lightyear One, we asked the Dutch team if the second SEV model will also see a name change, perhaps taking over the title of “One?” According to a spokesperson for the company, Lightyear Two is still the working title, but nothing is definitive at this point.
We will be one of the lucky few outlets to test drive the Lightyear 0 later this month, so check back with Electrek to see how it goes.