Lightyear One confirms record-breaking low drag

Lightyear One confirms record-breaking low drag-confirms

Aerodynamics bring range. The Dutch start-up Lightyear has apparently committed itself to this premise. A first prototype of the five-seat, all-electric Lightyear One sedan has now undergone extensive aerodynamic testing at Aprilia in Italy. Result: the Lightyear One could become the most efficient electrically powered five-seater on the market.

So far, the Lightyear One has been rushed through the media mainly because of its solar cells integrated on the roof and hood. With these solar modules alone, the vehicle should be able to drive 70 kilometers, in addition to the 710 kilometers range that Lightyear specifies for the model. But now you can also sit up and take notice with the high demands on the aerodynamics of the vehicle, which should make it the most efficient in the world. A test run in a real environment should now have confirmed this.

Aerodynamic tests usually follow a three-part scheme: First, the vehicle is placed in a wind tunnel, with which the course of the air flows can be visualized. At the same time, a simulation is carried out, the so-called Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) calculation. Flow patterns can thus be predicted. But a real test is also essential, because the vehicle has to show in the real world what was previously calculated. According to the company, the Lightyear One prototype has now completed this real test at the Bridgestone European Proving Ground (EUPG) in Aprilia, Italy, with promising results.

In addition to the heating system and the rolling resistance of the tires, which also affect the efficiency of a car, Lightyear focuses on a design that minimizes air resistance and the Cd value (air resistance coefficient). A low drag coefficient means that the vehicle requires less energy and therefore has a longer range. There is a delicate balance to be found between aerodynamic shapes, smooth surfaces and the integration of the solar panels, a large trunk volume and user-friendly operation. It is therefore essential for Federico Garcia, Lightyear‘s aerodynamics engineer, “to get as much information as possible on how the vehicle behaves in a natural environment”.

For the test, the Lightyear One was driven at various speeds up to 130 km/h and the air pressure around the vehicle and the energy consumption were measured. A special structure was developed for the measurement, on which the sensors were attached around the car. “These sensors communicate with a data storage system,” explains aerodynamics engineer Annemiek Koers. The first results show that the Lightyear One probably also achieved a record-breaking Cd value of less than 0.20 in real tests, making it the currently most aerodynamic five-seater on the market.

The results of the prototype are now being incorporated into the further development of the model. The first production models are to be delivered this year. In terms of price, the Lightyear One starts at around 150.000 euros. The Lightyear Two model, which is already in development, should then serve the mass market, with a price well below 50.000 euros.

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