Lightyear One solar powered electric car – exclusive first look | Fully Charged

Hello and welcome to Fully Charged. Now
we do get to go to some amazing places to see incredible new cars, bikes,
inventions, renewable energy stuff… generally we're in kind of big
industrial estates or disused airfields or on the city street and it's really
busy today we've come somewhere slightly more salubrious. What we're seeing here
is very exciting I think. This is a startup company in the Netherlands
they're called Lightyear and they're just about to start testing the very
first time it will ever be driving under its own power:
the Lightyear car.

It is absolutely extraordinary it's a luxury saloon car
it is partially solar powered as you can see that the roof and the bonnet
everything is covered in amazingly efficient solar panels in it what
they've gone for is energy efficiency this is a hyper efficient luxury saloon
car the first model that they're making. They are an extraordinary company, people
from all over the world… people who've worked at JLR, Porsche,
Tesla…. loads of nationalities which is a help for us because they all speak
English to each other. It's absolutely amazing what they're doing and they're
just about to start driving it.

Oooh! I'm quite excited! So Lex, I want to start with what I
understand the legacy of what you've created here. Solar team Eindhoven that
took part in the Darwin to Adelaide solar car race many times…
Yeah definitely
… and kept winning it. Yeah that was the starting point… six/seven years ago we basically built the
first four seater solar car And there had been a lot of solar cars right, but only for one person.

Basically looking at the raw
physics and seeing what technology is out there to use, we realized
that it was possible so we did that. We participated in the competition in
Australia and drove 3,000 kilometers from Darwin to Adelaide and we actually
managed to not only finish… That's the most important thing!
…but actually win the World Solar Challenge 2013. And from that, things started rolling. So the challenge is basically a big playground
to experience the technologies and all kinds of parameters. I think it's important to point out that you when you won that you were winning against little known
companies like Honda…
Haha! …who probably got some funding! So Tessie this is a very exciting moment
I think they're about to move…

Can you tell us what the interest is from
the public is there so some people they haven't seen this car but they know what
you're doing they've seen the mock-up yeah yeah yeah and we get quite some
interest but indeed it's it's easier if you have something to show ya but Rick
taking into account that we weren't able to show that much I think we've gained a
lot of interest also a lot of questions because of course people have doubts
will to be a battery in it will it work at night all this stuff so we have a lot
of explaining to do but yeah considering all this I am quite
surprised and very happy to see that we have over a hundred pre reservations
already which for a completely new car with a lot of new technology in it is
it's a big risk for people in a sense for the customers because they don't
know no one knows no one knows yeah so they even make a pretty big down payment
as well right so you see the trust and people it's really high probably also
has to do with the World Solar Challenge and yes being and people really see this
as the next step of electric field goals so they really want to see this
happening yeah some people buy the car but I don't care about the car they want
to support our mission yes which is great so can you give us the sort of
rudimentary background to this it's quite big yeah so the DNA of the company
is it's quite different from a lot of other companies we really we realized
that kind of efficiency is magical all right the efficiency helps in so many
ways not only to reduce energy consumption then also use small
batteries you you can get more from a normal bar Osaka at the in terms of
kilometers so efficiency was what's kind of our starting point right and then
looking at how efficient can we actually build a car all right
that is also comfortable and safe I'm really being able to start with the
blank piece of paper we have been super important to do this
so we basically get to about half of the energy consumption of a similar car in
the same class Wow Wow really you've got you've got it down that much so is the
idea then that you don't need is like a the
the equivalent size car at the moment would be a Tesla Model S or somewhere
out there yeah which has a big battery pack can you effectively go the same
distance they can but with a smaller battery I mean you can't yeah yeah we're
definitely so we have a very bag that is like 2/3 or what if that's more or less
average Lee asked all right we can drive more than that same ol s all right there
will be up to 800 kilometers if you come with the Sun and without the Sun
actually so the minimum range you will get is 400 so in winter with air
conditioning and everything you everything switched on yeah you'll still
and high speed driving though still gets before I love the interior materials
yeah it's nice right yes the honeycomb stuff is great I think it's and I like
the fact that it's sealed off I think that's really interesting I think so
that you any heat in the cabin you're not heating them reason why we did it
and the second reason why we did that is because the this is lower in weight
right because you don't need to lock the the bench in on the sides right you can
you can lock it in the into the door yeah and therefore you you actually save
a couple of kilograms I think so what's your have you got a rearview center rear
view we've got a rear view here right we're now working on on testing whether
you can put your lender there's something we think and definitely
consider yeah so tell me about how it ended up looking
like that because it could just be in a box on wheels yeah yeah you can't cover
stuff yeah right yeah so when we started like two and a half years ago we were
just from from the solar team right but we got a lot of reaction so we brought
the car to over the world to China to Australia to Europe America as well but
people liked the concept but the design is not as like a car should be so car
should really give confidence the first time you look at it so that was very
important for us we knew we had the technology but we needed to combine it
with like to get to make a car out of it so what we did was partnered with a
design firm in in Torino and headed by Lowe we finish so he's known for all the
work that he has been doing of course and together with with legs I sat down
to really shape the concept and to think of how should a solar car actually look
like and what we found was that it's a very aerodynamic concept of course but
it's also a concept that the breeze freedom so the freedom expect aspect
should be really in there I think that combination makes it very nice nice
balance yeah it's a very nice contrast so you're going for in wheel motors
rather than the central and the thing I've heard and this shirt this will show
my level of engineering understanding is the anxiety I've spoken to automotive
engineers about unsprung weight yeah in the wheels that you know if those are
very heavy and is that I mean I'm assuming that's yeah yeah taking into
account and so you have to look at it very carefully when you design the guard
to be using England motors then you can integrate the the suspension very well
with the motor and the rim right to reduce weight yeah at at the same time
if you look at the tire size those kind of things also very much influenced the
unsprung weight and now we're at the point it actually it's it's just a
marginally more happy than what you would get arm alright and as well the
people that made the reservation they feel like there's telling this or story
to all their friends but they sort of missing something which is the evidence
yeah and right now yeah we are delivering the evidence that we can
really build this car and I think it's beautifully designed car so that's one
of the promises we did we made and yeah now it's time to show so that low Rumble we're hearing now
that is that that is the motive that's not yeah attendee the thing that I did speak to
an engineer about it was how annoying electric cars are for bodybuilders and
them and the people who deal with the sound in in combustion cars because you
can't hear any creaks in the combustion character you're hearing the engine and
they said as soon as you drive an electric car you hear every tiny little
squeak and creak I think one and a half year ago we started with with us telling
how is surely car works because they don't know Wow
so this is all happened in a year and a half yeah and only a year ago we had
like the first phone model right so the a year ago we only knew how the car sort
of like might look might look yeah and from then and like this final result the
final prototype is only four months so imagine the speeds we were able to get
it and and the nice thing to add to that as well is that the mock-up was quite in
line with with with the prototype you see here yeah so it means that we really
know what we're doing right because it doesn't change that much over time so
probably the first verification models also will stay more or less the same
because it's well it works out is very well there's so many things as soon as I
think about what you have to test you know when you'd start doing longer
drives and it and the testing you've got to do there's a lot of and there's so
many components in a car is no that's the thing they had they're complicated
machines yeah but also things are all the silly
things right so the lights here and the speaker system the windows yeah
the screens here I know we made a decision in January to
sort of change the planning a bit in order to be able to show the car before
the summer holidays instead of after that so that put a lot of pressure on it
and it's amazing what they've got companies also considering all the
suppliers that were very flexible that helped us out it's really it's it's
amazing what they did and you have only half a year yeah I'd like one and a half
months ago we had nothing physical yet not too much at least and now there's Wow this isn't the first time you've
been in is electoral is it no actually it is no it's so exciting
I mean I've never been more excited to go in a car really slowly it doesn't
mean like two years of everything coming together yeah it's looking at
millimeters everywhere and and seeing more much of this on the screens yeah
it's really being enjoying this in real life is really amazing and but of course
I think this this is just the first step right yeah
next steps are going to build I'm going to winter test summer tests a lot more
prototypes presumably at some point you do have to do a crash test to do you I
mean you've got to basically kill a car yeah which is just a harp I think yeah
we love to do that because it's for science right yeah
so from these curse tests we will get a lot of information yeah to to improve
the chassis improved but also calibrate the airbags yeah and it's I think the
most fascinating thing for me is that you kind of get that with some proper
engineering you can get the same kind of comfort and but a completely different
shape around the car and therefore really improving the yard and that makes
the energy consumption that you kind of have the same feeling sitting in this
car but still having about how the energy consumption of them of a similar
car Ryan yeah so what we did in the interior is moving a lot of the
component you would normally have close to the to the occupant space we moved it
to the front right and if we have a lot of room in the interior itself okay here
on the Neath you can put the chemists eyes back if you wanted yeah it's quite
large now you've got so much space the back is it sort of like ultra luxury car
you know fit space in the back it's brilliant and so that is the long-term
idea then I mean this is the sort of the initial model is high-end it's luxurious
that's quite the plan is that you would then go smaller lighter cheaper yeah
yeah so we're really developing this technology and this is the first step to
bring it to market yeah and then also the price becomes a bit higher but the
moment you have this technology and you you can really optimize them bring it
also up to skill yeah you can drop down and that's really the dream we're having
right because a solar car will work best where no infrastructure exists yeah the
cheapest form of energy will come from the places that are nearest to where you
use it yeah because then you don't have to pay for the infrastructure tween so
if you have solar cells on your roof we use it for your car yes because use for
your house house then if you have solar cells on top for your car itself then
it's probably the cheapest source you can get yes there can't be a cheaper way
of charging a car can those do so all there although it might not cover your
full energy consumption it's still the cheapest and most convenient way to get
anything to grow it's fascinating listening to the
various sound but their way they're they're really minor I just want to you
know just in case the mic isn't picking this up but there are some tiny little
tiny River preaching in it but the reason you can hear that miss because
the car is so smooth and quiet that you get to hear all sorts of other weird
things thank you yeah it's going on it's all there it's also like that you're
going to a year as well yes are you being your builder I know
what's out and I think it's but I'm amazed that actually but effective there
it's really quite good so this is on I like the fact this is on 10% of its
potential how are they the motors yeah it isn't there's a lot of torque in
order yeah and of course also the big advantage is that you can borrow them
independently yeah therefore have a lot of grip and being able to control that
in milliseconds and so it will actually do quite good
hills and good off-roading yeah we're still gentle now we're at ten percent
right yeah but there's a lot of potential in the motors and in about
Jack is there a sort of kilowatt capacity of
the solar panels if they're in direct Sun I mean what's their peak yeah it's
about one point two five right and that means that so we will charge between ten
and twelve kilometers per hour right that's quite nice it's like that is the
same as a 13 amp plug the same as a domestic plug that's about that range
that's about 50 to 70 kilometres a day and so they'll be added up to well this
is that's a sunny – sunny but yeah and it will add to up to about 10,000
kilometers per year in the Netherlands and in good conditions right and at
least 8,000 and they're learning in California or Australia or something
like that they can go up to 20,000 hours actually per year and it's a lot more
than we thought we will be able to right but is you know technology is
progressing so the idea is that you can do with the
two energy sources you have anywhere on earth Russia that's normal power sockets
and the Sun exactly and you can drive formal kilometers birthday using just
power sockets because chickens and in a night you can charge for a clock one
right but of course if you if you if there's false charges you can use them
so it had it does have that you could plug of course is it CCS you could plug
that into it yeah the philosophy is that you should be able to use any energy
source and to drive by yeah but I mean it's amazing what you've done I'm really
thrilled and with I'm very excited to come and see future developments well
you know when you get to the next level and what or when the first customer has
their come up very exciting moment so the light year car is about to go back
to the amazing workshop where they built it they they're clearly really excited
about this this is a no I think I think a really interesting breakthrough car
it'll be fascinating to see how fast they can actually start producing them
they've still got a lot of testing to do the good cold weather testing hot
weather testing crash testing all that stuff you know it's not it's not
finished by a long way but it's definitely on the path and I think what
this team have done is truly remarkable and I guess clearly they can't talk
about it there's clearly a lot of interest from a lot of car companies
because it does actually what we've done here is see an amazing
new revolutionary bit of technology a genuine solar-powered car not a hundred
percent solar it doesn't have to be but even if it's 15 20 25 40 percent solar
that makes a huge difference if all cars were like that still in its
early stages we're not going to see a production vehicle force in probably 18
months two years it's you know it is the beginning of an amazing adventure for
that team amazing team really want to thank the whole team at light you know
they did a look looked after us very well I want to thank Schenker transit
slightly less because they've got big noisy trucks the reason we're here at
this fascinated charger right on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands is
because we didn't fly here and it's it's incredibly complicated when you don't
fly to see an event like that we were with them for a morning we didn't need
to be it's taken us three days day to get here overnight film of them day to
get back so three days of travel we've done it all an electric car this car has
proved itself ridiculously efficient at doing it really genuinely proper
long-range we drove all the way from Maidstone if you look on a map from
Maidstone to Eindhoven one charge pretty pretty amazing so it's taken us a bit
longer time and that's the problem we could have flown to Eindhoven this
morning that we could have flown back tonight except we've got a lot of kit
the car is absolutely for the kit so it would have been very difficult how do we
film cars all over the world without flying is the question we're asking
ourselves anyway that's it that's what we've done we've driven here and we're
now about to drive to Bruges lovely Bruges in Belgium and then we catch the
train early tomorrow morning and there's also patron have a look at the link
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