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Lightyear One: 20 miles of solar driving range

  • Magazine Article
  • 20AUTP04_11
Published April 01, 2020 by SAE International in United States
  • English

It's been more than a decade since Toyota first developed a photovoltaic system for the roof of a Prius hybridelectric vehicle (HEV). Those solar cells, available on Japan-based models around 2010, had a peak capacity of 50 watts - generating only enough power to run auxiliary devices such as a ventilation fan.

Further development for the past 10 years by Toyota, as well as Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla, opened the possibility of a vehicle's rooftop solar charging an electric vehicle's (EV's) batteries, adding maybe a few miles of range when the vehicle is left in the blazing sun for a several hours. Those efforts were baby steps compared to Lightyear One, the the ground-up, “solar EV” created by Lightyear, the startup based in Helmond, Netherlands.