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Gliding through nature — coasting with Lightyear 0

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Coasting solar powered car lightyear

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Three months ago, at Destination Daylight, early ambassadors first experienced the feeling of coasting in a Lightyear 0 on the sun-kissed roads of Navarra, Spain. But what exactly is coasting, and what makes Lightyear 0 so adept at it?

What is coasting?

Coasting is done by turning off regenerative braking and taking your foot off the accelerator. Regenerative braking is responsible for naturally slowing down the vehicle when not applying the accelerator. When it’s switched off, instead of slowing down immediately, the car will instead coast, allowing it to keep driving forward even without energy input. A vehicle as efficient as Lightyear 0 can coast for vast distances without losing any significant amount of speed. In fact, during testing, Lightyear 0 prototypes took 3,6 kilometres to go from 100 km/h to 0 km/h while coasting.

Coasting speed

“The regenerative braking can be turned on and off. If you turn it off, you’ll glide across the road, and the car barely slows down at all. The instructor told me to drive at 100 km/h and then stop what I’m doing. 1,5 kilometres later we were still driving at 80 km/h.” — Cas van Arendonk

Lightyear customer Cas van Arendonk

Compare it to riding a bicycle. On a straight road, if you stop pedalling, you’ll come to a standstill after about 10 metres. But when you’re going downhill and you stop pedalling, you’ll experience the feeling of gliding over the road effortlessly without losing much speed, and finally come to a standstill after about 50 metres. When you’re driving Lightyear 0 on a level road, you’ll experience that same feeling of effortlessly gliding downhill, without so much as a flick of the pedal.

A feeling of freedom

Imagine you’re driving along the highway in some bright, foreign land, the road stretching out before you as far as the horizon. Beautiful natural vistas zoom past you on your side, rolling hills of green, an orchard ready for harvest, a vast lake against the backdrop of a mighty mountain. The sun’s rays shine down on your car with a soothing intensity, nourishing it with the same energy that drives it forward. You release the accelerator and…you’re sailing. Without using any energy, yet losing minimal speed, you’re gliding across the road.

Like the birds above you, your car was designed for optimum aerodynamic ability. Its sleek, streamlined design allows it to cut through the air like a bird’s wings, allowing you to soar along the highway. Powered by the sun that nourishes the flora around you, it smoothly glides over the roads without being obstructed by the forces of nature, because it was designed with nature in mind.

Anne-Marie Rakhorst, early customer and guest of Destination Daylight said: “It simply glides on, as it were. It’s incredibly comfortable to drive.” she said as she coasted through the vast sunlit plains of Navarra. “I’m not doing anything, I’m not applying gas, nothing, and I’m driving…unbelievable.”

Coasting Lightyear Anne-Marie Rakhorst Customer

“It’s like surfing”, notes Johan Kamphuis, a fellow invitee. “It’s just bizarre!” Early customers’ reviews were radiating with positivity, noting the feeling of surfing or gliding on the roads with minimal loss of velocity.

Effortlessly efficient

As the world’s most aerodynamic production car in history, Lightyear 0 was built to optimise your coasting experience. Our holistic, aerodynamic design gives an unrivalled low drag coefficient of 0.175 Cd, meaning it can travel further on less energy. Our solar car was designed with minimal air resistance in mind, from the outline of the car down to the tyres themselves, which were specifically designed to have low rolling resistance on top of reducing aerodynamic drag.

Coasting Johan Kamphuis Lightyear Customer

The Lightyear experience

We built Lightyear 0 to give the most efficient, sustainable ride. But we also had adventure in mind, aiming to bring our drivers closer to the beautiful nature around us. Lightyear 0 is the car that moves through nature without harming it. That’s charged by the very sun that nourishes the nature around it. And its aerodynamic design allows it to coast for vast distances, allowing for smooth sailing along the road towards a more sustainable future.

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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