Lightyear One Solar Electric Car: The Complete Guide For India

Lightyear One Solar Electric Car India
Price: N/A
Type of electric vehicle: Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Body type: Saloon
Battery size: 60 kWh
Electric range (WLTP): 450 miles
Tailpipe emissions: 0g (CO2/km)


Electric Cars: The Basics


For those of you new to zero-emission electric driving, we recommend a read of the following articles:

For those keen on an overview of the global electric vehicle (EV) market and the different types of electric vehicles (EVs), simply scroll down to the end of the article!


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The All-Electric Lightyear One Solar Car


Lightyear is a Netherlands (Helmond) based early stage clean transportation automotive manufacturer. The company was founded in 2016 by engineering students from the University of Eindhoven (Lex Hoefsloot, co-founder and CEO), who had successfully won the solar-powered World Solar Challenge race (1,878 miles) in 2013, 2015 and 2017 (Solar Team Eindhoven). 

The electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer is committed to developing off-the-grid long-range solar electric vehicles that are ‘scalable, grid-independent’ and can ‘explore the world, independent of energy charging infrastructure’. The company has a mission to provide clean mobility for everyone, everywhere.

The company has been awarded the following:

  • TIME Magazine acknowledged Lightyear One as one of the ‘100 best inventions’ of 2019.
  • In 2020, Lightyear won the ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Most Disruptive Innovator’ Award of the Technology Fast 50 program organised by Deloitte.

The all-electric Lightyear One has been developed from ‘scratch’, to achieve an ultra energy efficient design and maximum zero-emission range. The Lightyear One prototype was unveiled in 2019.

The EV has five square metres solar panels (the cells are encased in safety glass) and can achieve up to 450 miles (725 km) WLTP range on a fully charged battery. The company has focused on reducing the weight of the electric vehicle by using lighter materials like aluminium and carbon fibre to achieve maximum range efficiency.  The company also claims to have the best aerodynamic coefficient (Cd: less than 0.20) of any car on the market. According to the company, the Lightyear One is the most aerodynamic 5-seater to date.   

The solar panels are placed on the roof and the hood of the vehicle.  The solar cells cover five square metres of area and are placed unlike conventional solar cells, such that shade in one region of the solar roof will not restrict the harnessing of solar energy from the remaining part of the roof. The company further claims that Lightyear One solar cells produce up to 20% more energy than conventional solar cells. 

The solar car can charge up to 43.5 miles (70 km) range per day. The company estimates that given the weather conditions in the Netherlands, the solar car can be powered up to 40% of the mileage from solar energy.  The solar panels can charge up to 7.45 miles (12 km) an hour. Using a plug-in EV charger at 3.7 kW, the EV can achieve a range of 21.75 miles (35 km)/h and at 22 kW, 130 miles (209 km)/h. At 60 kW fast charging the range can be increased to 354 miles (570 km) in an hour.

The solar electric car can seat up to five adults (two in the front and three at the back). The car has up to 780L luggage space (standard), which can be extended up to 1701L. Standard specifications include: over the air software updates, companion app, wireless key, Apple Car Play, Android Auto and wireless charging pad.

The car has been designed for efficiency and not speed. The solar EV has four independent in-wheel motors and can  accelerates 0 to 100 km/h in 10 seconds. The all-electric Lightyear One (Exclusive Pioneer Edition) is priced from € 150,000 not including taxes (Rs 1.2 Crores), and can be booked online for a full upfront payment. The electric car company aims to manufacture 946 units of the Exclusive Pioneer Edition. The first 150 units of the Pioneer Edition are now sold out and the EV manufacture is now developing the next series, the Limited Edition, priced at € 250,000 (Rs 2 Crores).

The solar electric car will be built by Finnish contract manufacturer, Valmet Automotive. Deliveries are expected to commence mid 2022 (EU, Norway, Switzerland/ left-hand drive). The company aims to scale up production via key partnerships and is committed to making its solar car more price accessible.


PROS CONS
Good zero-emission range (up to 450 miles WLTP)Expensive compared to other available EVs
Solar cells reduce need for plug-in chargingLimited real world performance data
Cheap to drive on solar zero-emission rangeDamage to solar roof could be prohibitively expensive to replace

The All-Electric Lightyear One Solar Electric Car (credit: Lightyear)


One of the key advantages of driving an electric vehicle (EV), is that, it is cheaper to drive, compared to conventional internal combustion engine (ICE), petrol and diesel vehicles. For many years, we have witnessed a significant increase in prices at petrol pumps across India. However, this is not an ‘India’ only trend, but a global trend. We can continue to expect an inflation in global petrol and diesel prices for the foreseeable future.

Both, a pure electric car and a plug-in hybrid electric car, offer significant savings on driving costs per mile, when driven on zero-tailpipe emission electric mode. In India, filling a petrol or diesel car can cost anything between Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000. As an example, the very popular Audi Q7 diesel SUV has a fuel capacity of 85 litres. Assuming an average cost per litre of Rs 90, the cost of filling a full tank will be up to Rs 7,650!

In comparison, the all-electric Audi e-tron SUV , which is now available in India, and a similar size to the Audi Q7, can be fully recharged for less than Rs 1,000. Put another way, charging the Audi electric SUV, can save up to 85% compared to filling a full tank of fuel (in India, the average cost for residential electricity is between Rs 5 to Rs 10 per kWh).

At an average one can expect a cost per km of Rs 1 for a zero-emission EV, while for an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle, the cost per km could be up to Rs 7 per km. The annual cost savings achieved by switching to electric driving is significant! The sooner you switch to green cars, the sooner you can start saving money. That is simply the bottom-line!


At A Glance
EV Type:Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)
Vehicle Type:Saloon
Engine:Electric
Available In India:No

Variants (1 Option)
Lightyear One Exclusive Pioneer Edition

EV Battery & Emissions
EV Battery Type:Lithium-ion
EV Battery Capacity:Available in one battery size: 60 kWh
Charging:Up to 60 kW fast charging standard. On-board charger: 22 kW
Charge Port:Type 2
EV Cable Type:Type 2
Tailpipe Emissions:0g (CO2/km)
Battery Warranty:N/A

 Charging Times (Overview)
Slow charging AC (3 kW – 3.6 kW):6 – 12 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SOC)
Fast charging AC (7 kW – 22 kW):3 – 8 hours (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging AC (43 kW):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Rapid charging DC (50 kW+):0-80%: 20 mins to 60 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Ultra rapid charging DC (150 kW+):0-80% : 20 mins to 40 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)
Tesla Supercharger (120 kW – 250 kW):0-80%: up to 25 mins (dependent on size of EV battery & SoC)

Dimensions
Height (mm):1426
Width (mm):1898
Length (mm):5057
Wheelbase (mm):2950
Turning Circle (m):N/A
Boot Space (L):780

Lightyear One
EV Battery Capacity:60 kWh
Pure Electric Range (WLTP):450 miles
Electric Energy Consumption (Wh/km):83
Charging:60 kW Fast Charging (on board charger: 22 kW AC)
Top Speed:N/A
0-62 mph:10 seconds
Drive:All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
Max Power (HP):136
Torque (lb-ft):885
Transmission:Automatic
Seats:5
Doors:4
Weight (kg):1,300
Colours:Silver/Black
NCAP Safety Rating:N/A

Cheap Electric Cars Available In India


Ask any expert on electric vehicles (EVs) the key success factors for the rapid adoption of electric driving. Affordability, range and EV charging infrastructure are always identified as key to the successful uptake of EVs, with affordability taking centre stage in the narrative. This holds true for all countries, to include India.

In fact, it can be argued, that for a country like India, with a GDP per capita of less that US$ 2,000, the need for affordable electric cars is even more pronounced. It is true, in that, driving an electric car per mile, is significantly cheaper than driving an internal combustion engine (ICE) petrol or diesel vehicle. However, apart from running and maintenance costs, the purchase cost is also a key determinant in the decision making of a buyer.

Tata Nexon EV
The All-Electric Tata Nexon SUV (credit: Tata Motors)

Though India has witnessed an increase in activity in the introduction of battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), the price tag for the majority of pure electric cars (also known as BEVs), is beyond the reach of most families and businesses in India. As an example, the phenomenally fast (and good looking) Audi RS e-tron GT BEV is priced at Rs 2.05 crores. It is simply only ‘affordable’ for a very small percentage of the consumer base in India.

For the adoption of electric driving to gather momentum in India, the introduction and availability of cheaper electric cars is vital! The availability of EVs priced below Rs 20 lakhs will be instrumental in encouraging buyers to migrate to electric driving. Despite the lack of affordable electric cars in India, there is a glimmer of hope, in that, there are a few affordable pure electric cars currently available in India. We would encourage local and global automotive manufacturers to develop and introduce electric vehicles better suited for the family budget in India. Moreover, the support of government subsidies and grants will also be important in the uptake of EVs in India.


EV Type Of EV Price
Hyundai Kona ElectricBattery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)Rs 23.79 Lakhs
MG ZS EVBattery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)Rs 21.49 Lakhs
Tata Tigor EVBattery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)Rs 11.99 Lakhs
Tata Nexon Battery-Electric Vehicle (BEV)Rs 14.24 Lakhs



Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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