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FAQ

General

We are Lightyear. Car manufacturers, a mindset and a movement. Our mission is simple: to make clean mobility accessible to everyone, everywhere. We’ll measure that mission in kilometres, (9,460,000,000,000 to be exact) which is the equivalent to one light-year in clean solar kilometres by 2035. To achieve that goal, we designed the world’s first solar electric car, Lightyear 0. The car that brings our carefully developed technologies together, and ultimately proves the feasibility and potential of driving on the power of the sun.

The address of Lightyear's corporate headquarters is :

Automotive Campus 70, 5708 JZ, Helmond, Netherlands

The journey of Lightyear started in 2012, when Lex Hoefsloot and Roy Cobbenhagen started Solar Team Eindhoven, but the history of Lightyear lies in the World Solar Challenge. In 2013, a team that included four of the five founding members from the Eindhoven University of Technology competed and became world champions in cruiser class by building a 5-seater solar car that was able to drive between 1000 - 1500 km on a single battery charge.

Around that time the first EVs came into the streets, having a range of 100-250 km. During the race they noticed that the vehicles that ran on gasoline had to make regular stops for refuelling, whereas the solar car could just continue driving.

The experience and technology achievement from this race made the founders of Lightyear realise that there is great potential for solar cars in the commercial market, breaking some of the barriers for EV adoption (range, charging, and, in the end, costs). This same team, with an additional new fifth founder, managed to become world champions 4 times in a row.

After that, they realised they had built up unique knowledge, and were able to demonstrate that the concept of a high efficiency solar car could actually work for commercial markets, solving a major issue on range and charging.

It’s important to remember that we are bringing something entirely new to the market – Lightyear 0 is the first of its kind. When innovating technology of this distinction, the path is not linear and, if you want to do it right, it is not short. To deliver a safe, road-legal solar, we must ensure we get it right the first time. We do not make compromises when it comes to our technology and product. Fortunately, we have strong backing from investors and strategic partners who share in our mission and are working with us to achieve our next milestone of production this fall; which also lays the foundation for our lower-priced model, Lightyear 2, scheduled to hit the markets in 2025.

Our technology is designed with efficiency in mind, the more efficient the car, the better its impact on the environment and the driver’s experience. We take this efficiency to the next level within every design choice we make, and therefore we can deliver a car that needs 80% less charging and has twice the range on the same battery pack. The biggest challenge in this principle is honing in on every design element to maximise efficiency while still ensuring the car meets all of our other design standards. 

Our next crucial milestone will be when we start production of Lightyear 0 at Valmet this fall and begin delivery to our customers. Once we have successfully demonstrated the technology with Lightyear 0, we will be able to shift our focus to the introduction of our subsequent mass-market model, Lightyear 2.

Lightyear 2 will be built with families in mind, in high volume, and available in many more markets around the world, including the US, UK, and eventually Asia. With an accessible price point (starting at €30.000) and cost of ownership to rival a mid-sized fossil fuel based car, it will truly bring clean mobility to the masses.

The first model will be an exclusive edition of up to a maximum of 946 cars and will only be delivered in the EU/UK, Norway, and Switzerland. These are pioneer / statement cars to demonstrate the viability of the concept (the added value of a highly efficient solar car) and build our brand and the markets. After that we want to scale up to a mass market model from 2025 onwards, at a price point of approximately €30,000.

We are aiming at bringing our Lightyear 2 model to the US in 2025. Its climate, parking habits, grid, and driving distances make it one of the best markets for solar cars.

Because we are still in the pilot stage and have only one model that has licence plates and can drive on public streets, it is not currently possible for the general public to test drive the vehicle. 

We’re looking forward to the day when we can share the Lightyear driving experience with more people!

At the moment, we are still very heavily involved in getting our first prototype solar-car, Lightyear 0, into production.

Our goal is to begin production of Lightyear 2, the mass-market version of our solar vehicle sometime in 2025.


The pricing structure for Lightyear 0 and Lightyear 2 are very different because the latter is meant for mass production, whereas Lightyear 0 has been designed for limited production (and is bespoke-made).  We stand by our company’s mission to make clean mobility accessible to everyone, everywhere. Like all companies reliant on external supply chains,  Lightyear is not impervious to the fluctuations in inflation and rising costs of raw materials. There is a possibility that this could impact the launch price of Lightyear 2, but we stand by our promise that this model will have a more accessible price point than competing vehicles.

It’s great to hear you’d like to join the team! You can find all of our current employment opportunities on our website, here.

Yes, it does! You can apply for an internship via the following link. This will also show you which internships we are currently looking for.

We receive many requests from students, and unfortunately we are unable to answer all of them. However, you can find a lot of information about Lightyear and our vehicles here on our FAQ page, and on our website, here.

You might also want to check out our YouTube channel for videos, here.

Lightyear 0

Lightyear 0 is an SEV - a Solar Electric Vehicle, featuring five square metres of patented, double-curved solar arrays, allowing the vehicle to charge itself while commuting or simply parked. Lightyear 0 transforms traditional mobility. By going back to the drawing board, we’ve developed a revolutionary car that can be charged by the sun, as well as regular household plugs. Less suddenly becomes more. More time, energy and freedom to travel without range anxiety and charging infrastructure dependence.

We’re just as keen to get you behind the wheel of your very own solar electric car! Here’s our plan to make that happen: Lightyear 0 is our concept car, and it will pave the way for an affordable, mass-market model. If you'd like more detailed information about Lightyear 0, you can download the brochure here. You can also still reserve your own Lightyear 0 by clicking this link. Lightyear 2 will launch in 2025, with all the benefits of its more exclusive predecessor.

The indicative price for Lightyear 0 is €250,000 excluding 21% tax and excluding extended options. Also, this price does not take into account various local taxes and subsidies. This might differ per country.

We’re aware that €250,000 isn’t achievable for everyone. This is why the Lightyear 0 is only a pilot model, used for homologation purposes. Homologation is the process of certifying that a particular car is roadworthy and matches certain specified criteria laid out by the government for all vehicles made or imported into that country - in this case, the Netherlands.

It’s important to remember that the Lightyear 0 has been designed to be a statement that shows this concept is feasible and that consumers are ready for clean, efficient mobility. With a maximum of only 946 to be produced, every bespoke car comes with personalised support from sales to post-delivery; we are confident that the price is commensurate with the ecosystem of design and support for this limited-edition model. 

We will be using what we learn from the Lightyear 0 to create the Lightyear 2, which will be the solar vehicle that we will offer world-wide, at a much lower price point of approximately €30,000. These vehicles are expected to start production in 2025.

It has always been our goal to make clean mobility for everyone, everywhere.

After a thorough and extensive selection process which took over a year, Lightyear selected Valmet Automotive as production partner. Valmet Automotive is an EV pioneer, which has been involved in the development and production of electric cars for more than 10 years. The company has more than 50 years of experience with large and well-known car brands, as well as guiding start-up and scale-up companies to production. More than 1.7 million vehicles – such as Mercedes-Benz, Saab, and Porsche – have left the production lines of Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Valmet Automotive also has its own battery production line and has recently invested heavily in additional engineering and testing capabilities for EV powertrain developments.

The car is designed with very high-quality standards. Therefore, while the vehicle has all the necessary features, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, it also has a number of additional items that are standard features of Lightyear 0. Among them are: 5” side-view camera systems, cruise control, speed limit indication/speed limiter, rain sensor, parking sensors, a rear parking camera, regenerative braking, and an electric handbrake.

You will also no longer experience enormous heat after parking your car in full sunlight during a long hot day. The air conditioning can be powered on automatically, as there will be a seamlessly working companion app on your phone.

A combination of aluminium and carbon fibre is used to construct Lightyear 0. The structure is able to absorb kinetic energy and the 4WD results in increased traction control. Driver and passenger airbags are also supplied.

Lightyear 0 has 782 IBC monocrystalline silicon solar cells.

The Lightyear 0 comes in a selection of colours - you can see them all on our website.

Technical

A solar electric vehicle, or SEV, is just like an electric car, but with one critical difference. An SEV has an outer layer of integrated solar cells, and with them, can charge itself from the power of the sun. In other words, it doesn’t rely on plug-charging alone and can drive for weeks - even months - without needing to be charged.

With a fully charged battery, Lightyear 0 has a range of 625 km - Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) drive cycle.

If you drive 110 km/h continuously, you are able to drive for 560 km. Please note that individual driving behaviour can also have an influence on range1

Depending upon your location, you can gain up to 70 kilometres of range per day from the sun alone, or between 6,000 to 11,000 kilometres of free, effortless, and clean range every year. Driving range is dependent on habits, location and season.

This depends on the power of the charging station you will use. If you use a fast charger of 50 kW, you will charge 520 km/h. With an average charger of 22kW, you will charge 200 km/h. And with a regular home socket of 3.7 kW, you will charge 32 km/h.

On a sunny day Lightyear 0 charges itself with up to 1.05 kW - that's 10 solar kilometres in one hour. It means you can get 50-70 km* of range per day using only solar charging.

*70km is the maximum achievable solar yield for 10% of a year in Spain. Driving range is dependent on habits, location and season.

Lightyear 0 has peak torque power of up to 1,720 Nm and peak power of ~130kW, which is equal to ~170 bhp. It reaches 100 km/h in 10 seconds.


Because a BEV has no Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and therefore no tailpipe, a BEV does not emit any CO2 or other gases.

Cargo space with seats up is about 474 litres. With seats flat, it is about 1076 litres. It is a bit shorter than the BMW 7-Series, but with about the same seating position in the front.


Four traction inverters and direct drive-in-wheel motors eliminate the need for energy draining components, such as a gearbox and driveshafts, as used in standard EVs. Our drivetrain is not only in pole position for the highest efficiency on the market, it also reduces the number of rotating components for much lower maintenance.

The solar cells are integrated into the front, roof & tailgate of the car. These 3 solar panels are assembled onto the car and cannot be taken off manually. Safety is one of the most important factors of Lightyear 0 and Lightyear in general. We did several tests with the solar panels, such as drop-ball tests to ensure the safety of the car and the roof of glass. If the solar panel breaks, the user of the car can replace the roof through one of our service and maintenance centers.

Lightyear’s technology remains proprietary and we aim to demonstrate the feasibility and impact of it with Lightyear 0. Recently we have partnered with Koenigsegg, sharing knowledge and resources, to bring automotive technologies to new levels. You can read more about that here.

Currently, we have no plans to make the technology available for a broader list of manufacturers. 

Our latest wind tunnel aerodynamic testing indicated a WLTP coefficient drag (Cd) value of 0.175, the most aerodynamic car in history. A low drag coefficient means less energy consumption, and therefore more range.

Sustainability

In Lightyear's environmental sustainability approach, we strongly focus on minimising CO2 emissions, both during the use of the car (highly energy-efficient with onboard solar) as well as in the design and manufacturing process. Developing and designing cars with a view to reusing parts and materials is another important environmental focus.

Sustainable design is stitched into every seam of Lightyear 0. The car’s high-quality interior is crafted from plant-based leather, recycled PET bottle fabrics, and sustainably restructured rattan palm, breathing new life into a conscious collection of all-natural materials.

In Lightyear's environmental sustainability approach, we strongly focus on minimising CO2 emissions, both during the use of the car (highly energy-efficient with onboard solar) as well as in the design and manufacturing process. Developing and designing cars with a view to reusing parts and materials is another important environmental focus.

You will start saving CO2 emissions after 20-40,000 km of driving, which equals approximately one year of driving for our customers, including production and recycling. The main advantages of the Lightyear 0 is that it has very low energy consumption and a relatively small battery. This radically reduces its footprint. Every product has an environmental impact in each phase of its life cycle (make, use, end of life). In Lightyear, we use Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to determine the environmental impact of the materials and assembly of the car to find an adequate balance. By applying Circular Economy principles in the design of our car, this guides us to optimise the car for a long life time, limited maintenance and repair including the development of opportunities for refurbishment, reuse of parts and recycling of materials during the lifetime of the car.

Customer Support

When placing your order, our sales team will guide you in reserving a unique car number on our production list. Our cars will be delivered to our customers in the sequence of the production list. Based on our latest planning, we aim to start the production of the very first vehicles by late 2022. Three months before we expect we can deliver your car, our Customer Care team will reach out to you and support you in all practical arrangements and questions that you might have.

We keep things easy: 8 year / 200.000 km bumper to bumper coverage on any part of the Vehicle that requires repair or replacement as a result of a manufacturing or material defect attributable to Lightyear.

The Lightyear 0 has an 8 year/200,000 km bumper-to-bumper warranty, and we are currently finalizing details with reputable partners such as Interpolis, Eurocross, and Carglass to provide our customers with service management package options that provide regular maintenance, repairs, and 24-hour roadside assistance across Europe.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Whenever your Lightyear 0 requires preventive maintenance, the Companion App or our Customer Care team will give you a heads-up. To keep your car in top shape, we recommend that you have a yearly check-up. To minimise the impact on your busy schedule, these yearly checkups will be executed with our mobile service vans at your location and time of choice.

This depends on the severity of the problem. In some cases, we will be able to remotely support you and guide you into continuing your journey in a matter of minutes. For more complex cases, our field service engineers may need to pay your car a visit, or your car will be picked up for repair at a workshop. If your mobility is impaired while waiting for the repair, our Customer Care team will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs.

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