It started out as a radical idea. To design and build a hyper-efficient, production-ready family vehicle capable of harnessing solar power. Now, after six years, hundreds of sketches and iterations, and with the help of our tenacious team, it’s become reality.
Lightyear 0 is starting production next week
Together with our partner, acclaimed car manufacturer Valmet Automotive, we've worked hard on a specialised production line — made especially for the manufacture of our solar electric car. We recently shipped out our patented solar arrays, which we manufacture in our dedicated factory in Venray, the Netherlands, to the Valmet Automotive facilities. There, starting next week, the first Lightyear 0 models will see the light of day.
World’s first solar electric car — Lightyear 0 defined
But how did we get to this point? Let’s look back at how it all started. Lightyear’s origins lie in the blazing heat of the Australian outback, where, while celebrating their fourth consecutive victory of the World Solar Challenge, a group of visionaries had a flash of inspiration.
They envisioned a world where everyone could drive on solar energy. Where everything from a daily commute to a weekend getaway, or a spontaneous road trip into the far reaches of nature and back, could be done cleanly, and without being restricted by the power grid.
Using their winning solar car Stella as a starting point, it was time to build on that design and technology in order to bring clean mobility to everyone, everywhere.
Creating Lightyear 0
As well as capturing the sun’s power, our design had to be sleek, modern, worthy of the trail it would blaze. While partnering up with Granstudio, a notable automotive design company based in Turin, Italy, the solar car of the future began to take physical shape and form.
During the initial sketch phase, a rough design was created virtually in 3D, primarily focused on proportions. After finalising this design, the first physical exterior models were made by modeling the car on a one on one scale in foam and clay. Subsequently, a design prototype with full interior was built, and publicly unveiled in June 2019.
The next step was to further develop and validate our technology by creating a fully functional prototype. Once this vehicle delivered on all of the validation tests, we combined it with the aesthetics of our design prototype to create our production intent vehicles, which we also used for crash testing and other safety validation. All of this culminated in the final production car, which will begin to be assembled as our production line springs to life next week.
Our solar car also had to reinvent the wheel when it comes to energy consumption. We set out to create the most efficient electric vehicle in the world. It was therefore vital to optimise our car’s aerodynamics.
Lightyear 0 is officially the most aerodynamic production car in history. With a low drag coefficient of 0.175 Cd, Lightyear 0 cuts through the air like no other, losing minimal energy through air resistance, letting it soar over the roads much longer on a single charge. Efficiency like this means fewer plug charges and drastically relieves pressure on the power grid.
Our follow-up mass market model Lightyear 2 is fast approaching. We will build on the research and development that went into Lightyear 0 to create an even better, more efficient, and more accessible car. But for now, stay tuned for our big milestone next week, starting production with Lightyear 0!