Lightyear receives Climate Change Innovators Award

Lightyear One is the model with four wheel drive called that should cause a breakthrough within the car industry. Even though the prototype does not yet exist, the creators will receive a Climate Change Innovators Award in Las Vegas this Thursday. The Consumer Technology Association rewards starting companies that contribute towards a more sustainable world in a (potentially) profitable way. 

When all goes according to plan the first Ones will hit the tarmac in 2019. The four wheel drive will have a solar panel on its roof, generating its own energy. The built in battery can store so much energy that the car can drive about 800 kilometers on it. 'After work you can easily drive home in the dark; it will recharge in the sun on the parking lot' says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of the Dutch start-up Lightyear. And what if it is cloudy or when there is a shadow on the parking lot? 'We factured in those possibilities, the solar panels are rather efficient already'.

According to the calculations by Lightyear a car in the Netherlands could drive 10.000 kilometers per year on solar power. On Hawaï that could even be 20.000 kilometers. Hoefsloot: 'If neccessary it is possible charge the One at a charging station but in fact you would not need those anymore.' This sounds like good news given the protests against the rising number of charging station for electric cars. Hoefsloot: 'Electric cars are still polluting when they don't use green energy. using solar power is a green as it gets.'

tested concept

The five founders of Lightyear are alumni of the Eindhoven University of Technology. They participated in the World Solar Challenge, the solar car race across Australia. Lex Hoefsloot: 'The concept we tested during that race we now take to market. The car is of course heavily adjusted for consumers: heavier, more comfortable and aesthetically improved. 'For now the edition is low: the target is to produce a thousand cars per year. The Light­year One costs 119.000 euro excluding VAT. According to Hoefsloot over fifteen cars have been sold. He expects a rise in sales once the first Ones are shown next year and people can test drive them. 

'It is a risky project, everybody realizes that: us, those who have made a down payment, investors but given the accomplishments I am feeling confident. 

Source: Nederlands dagblad