03 May 2021
Eindhoven Engine unlocks ‘smartest region’s collective intelligence
- Digital technologies
Lightyear One has the best aerodynamic coefficient of any car to this date with a drag coefficient (Cd) of below 0.20. The company optimised every part from the chassis to the side mirrors, from the crash cone to the luggage compartment. This drastically reduces energy consumption. The unique double curved integrated solar cells on the bonnet, roof and tailgate (in total 5m2) charge the car all day, every day and also means that Lightyear One charges up to 12km/h as it goes. Lightyear One is propelled by four independently driven wheels with in-wheel motors. In addition to lowering the weight and improving control, it means that no energy is lost in transit from the motor to the wheel. Lightyear One will get to a range of 725 km on the WLTP cycle and can drive a maximum of 20,000km per year, purely on self-generated solar energy.
“The solar roof has a unique curvature in order to maximize the aesthetics and aerodynamic performance of Lightyear One. To create the right strength and optimise the weight of the roof, the supporting structure and the method used in the gluing process are being developed in-house. This last part – keeping the PV module lightweight while making it sturdy – is one of the most challenging aspects. We are working with different partners to ensure that the product is safe and reliable.”
“We designed the roof to be slightly curved for aerodynamic and aesthetic reasons while maintaining focus on surface optimization. What is great about the rear-contact crystalline silicon cells we use, is that we can increase the power conversion efficiency. This also eliminates the metal busbars on top of the cells, improving the aesthetics of the roof. We are still innovating in applying conductive back-sheet technology to vehicle-integrated photovoltaics and this brings huge advantages. We can develop a system for a completely automated photovoltaic module fabrication and we have extreme flexibility in deciding cell size, location and orientation.”
“In the Netherlands, the solar area of Lightyear One can deliver a peak power of around 1250 Wp and can provide about 700 kWh per year. This translates, for example, into a ski trip from Amsterdam to Innsbruck (1802 km) in which you only have to charge the car twice. Predicting the energy yield is always a challenge for vehicle-integrated photovoltaics because of the changing environment. This includes weather conditions, time of year and location. Based on all the collected input combined with our calculations and simulations, Lightyear One is expected to generate around 50-70 km of extra range per day, during a Dutch summer. “
Lightyear is a pioneer in the field of solar-powered cars. The company’s vision is a world in which mobility will be truly sustainable. Electric cars have the potential to contribute to that goal tremendously. Not only do they provide a way to reduce emissions and thereby provide us with cleaner air in our cities, but electric cars are also an important part of the solution to mitigate climate change