Electric vehicles are the future and ones that make their own electricity are the goal for many of these companies. Consequently, Solar Team Eindhoven says that solar car racing has taken the place of Formula One in proving leading-edge technologies and spinning them off into regular vehicle companies because they are hurrying to be electric.
Solar Team Eindhoven is a group of engineering students from the Technical University of Eindhoven in The Netherlands that has been winning in the World Solar Challenge with their Stella and Stella Lux energy positive solar cars – meaning that they can produce more energy than they consume. Martijn Lammers, in charge of hardware interaction design, will talk at “Energy Independent Electric Vehicles,” the world’s first conference on at the Technical University of Delft on Sept. 27-28.
Some of these students have now launched a new start-up to make a commercial street-legal version of the racing car. To achieve positive energy output, Solar Team Eindhoven designed the Stella Lux to be aerodynamic and used lightweight materials such as carbon fiber and aluminium. However, it was built for a student competition and making a street-legal vehicle that can be sold to the public even more difficult. Nevertheless, Lightyear, a start-up created by five Solar Team Eindhoven alumni, thinks it is getting there. They claim that they created “the electric car that charges itself.”
“The Lightyear One charges itself with clean solar power. In sunny conditions it can drive for months without charging, a truly unique capability. The battery stores energy to ensure you can drive at night. It offers great peace of mind,” noted representatives of Lightyear.
The group promises that it will be able to generate enough energy to travel 10,000 to 20,000 km per year (about 6,200 to 12,400 miles) depending on the climate. Even though the vehicle design is currently secret, they are already taking reservations with a refundable deposit of €19,000 (approximately $22,000) for an expected final price of €119,000 (approximately $136,000). They are planning to start with a first small production run of 10 “Signature” cars in 2019 and then produce 100 more in 2020.
The group has competition from Sion Motors, a German start-up pitching for its street legal solar car to launch in 2019 and Hanergy solar cars in 2020, based in China. All these will be covered at the event as well as another start-up Scoozy from alumni of the Delft solar racing team. This is a mobility vehicle for the disabled that brings new unique insight based on their experience though it is not yet energy independent.