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Conducting the first durability tests with our latest prototype

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Last month, we drove to a new proving ground, in Belgium. Here, we conducted over 20 durability tests.

After we drove for over 440 miles (710 kilometres) on a single battery charge in July, the next step was to check the durability of our prototype. Robby Janssen, our Vehicle Test Engineer, was among other test engineers who took our latest prototype for a first round of durability tests. “We wanted to check Lightyear One’s structural integrity when driving on harsh roads, collect data for our simulation models, and use the results for component testing.”

The data was collected through 72 different sensors, which even measured acceleration signals in various body and wheel positions. Collecting this data was crucial, mainly because of Lightyear One’s in-wheel motors. Not only that, but the data contributes to system designs for the Body in White and our integrated Solar System.

The durability test consisted of driving the Lightyear One prototype over 20 different surfaces, varying from deep potholes, driving over bumps, railroad crossings, to rural country roads. Besides seeing how well the in-wheel motors withstand under stressful conditions, we wanted to simulate a standard and complete drive of a car under real-life conditions.

“It was very exciting to drive over the surfaces, especially the potholes. Those holes were so deep that the initial reaction, as a driver, would be to make an emergency stop. But we did not stop. We drove through the potholes and just kept on testing.” —Robby Janssen, Vehicle Test Engineer.

At the end of the testing week, we felt encouraged by the results. Not only did the recorded data help us validate our virtual model, saving us time and costs, but the structural strength, ride comfort, and components were proven apt and provided a safe ride throughout the test.

Of course, there were minor damages to the car after the test, but all of them will be improved during our next development phase.

The next steps for Lightyear One are further homologation tests, which will get our first vehicle on the road, in the summer of 2022. High-speed tests (of 81 mi/h or 130 km/h), aerodynamics tests and tests for our tires will also follow.

About Lightyear’s technology

As our world moves to more sustainable energy sources, Lightyear is driving the development of clean mobility in the automotive industry. By enabling electric vehicles to be scalable for everyone, everywhere, we will accelerate the sustainability transition and have a positive impact.

Our technology is engineered to enable a clean future. Starting from scratch and using a holistic design approach we developed an ultra energy-efficient long-range solar car. Our technology redefines performance with what truly matters: efficiency.

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About Lightyear

We design for independence and convenience. We create clean solar electric cars that can drive off-grid and into all of life's adventures.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 848620