Clean and affordable mobility for everyone.
Electric cars have the potential to benefit everyone tremendously. Not only do they provide a way to reduce emissions and thereby provide us with cleaner air in our cities, electric cars are an important part of the solution to mitigate climate change.
At Lightyear, we love electric cars and know they will prove a turning point in history. We started the Lightyear because we could not just be bystanders of the electric car revolution. We have a very strong drive to accelerate the introduction of electric cars around the globe.
What is slowing down the electric car revolution?
We started out by deepening our understanding of the obstacles slowing down the introduction of electric cars. This first step centered around finding out what parts of the introduction process could be improved.
Eventually and as soon as possible everyone should travel using renewables. This vision is captured in our founding goal: Providing clean and affordable mobility for everyone.
We strive to solve the problems that slow the introduction of sustainably charged and built electric cars.
These are the key challenges we identified to the mass-market introduction of electric cars:
- Providing enough range in order to make any trip convenient and planning-free.
- Making sure the electricity used to charge the cars comes from renewable sources.
- Preparing electric cars for tougher environments where road infrastructure is not always perfect.
- Making sure the production of electric cars is as clean as possible.
- Reducing the cost of owning, maintaining and using electric cars to make them viable for a worldwide mass market.
Since it might be impossible to solve these problems at once, we focus on those that can be tackled by building a new type of vehicle, without needing to reach scale immediately or needing to change the entire industry right away.
Problems with industry’s current approach
The problem with an electric vehicle fleet charged with stationary solar cells is not necessarily the price or availability of solar cells, battery cells or electric motors. The most difficult part is making sure they work well together. The processes involved in rapidly deploying an extensive network of solar chargers and making sure every car owner has enough solar charging points to them is complicated.
When looking carefully at the challenges stated above, it becomes clear that the first three challenges originate from the same problem: connecting renewable energy sources to the car conveniently. Seeing as these challenges are all parts of the same problem we aim to solve them all at once. If done right, this will solve range anxiety and provide clean power wherever, all in one fell swoop.
Why we believe in integrating solar cells onto the car
The core challenge described above is exactly the reason why we consider charging from solar cells built into the roof of the car. The sun is everywhere, it is the largest supercharger out there, you do not need any extra infrastructure to use it and it is completely free.
As a backup, we made sure an ordinary power socket is enough to charge the battery overnight, eliminating the need for special chargers.
That means people can already start driving electric cars, anywhere in the world, without needing to wait for charging infrastructure to be built. This makes scaling electric cars much simpler. No need to wait for governments to authorize the deployment of charging points, solar panels and batteries. No need to wait for companies to find a viable business case to build a charging infrastructure in your area. No need to be dependent on companies trying to defend their current fossil fueled business and slowing down the introduction of electric cars.
First step: everywhere
Since it is both near impossible to build low-cost low volume cars and the technology is not yet ready for mass production, we focus on getting the technology ready by first serving an exclusive market. We continuously assess our options to choose the best first market,and create the product that will get us to our end goal fastest. The Lightyear One will focus on showing that electric cars can go anywhere.
Once we prove that we can build a reliable, safe and above all great solar electric car, we will be ready to tackle the next challenges: making sure the production of the car is clean and reducing costs by scaling up our efforts.
Charge with sunlight. Drive for months without grid-charging. Unprecedented range.