Dutch company Lightyear has found a supplier for the sunroof for its long-range electric car. Royal DSM will partner with Lightyear to increase production in the solar system.
The two companies will also study the applications of these sunroofs for other electric cars, as well as vans and buses, Lightyear reported in a press release.
The roof consists of 16 square meters of solar cells protected by double-curved safety glass. Royal DSM will provide a backsheet that controls the electrical connections behind the cells, freeing up more space to capture sunlight. It will also reduce electrical losses, resulting in a 3% increase in power generation compared to other designs, the company claims.
Lightyear was founded by members of a World Solar Challenge winning team, with the aim of applying solar technology to the production of electric cars.
The Lightyear One electric car aims for a range of 725 kilometers in the European WLTP cycle (which tends to be more optimistic than the US EPA test cycle). Although the car has a battery as well as a streamlined body, it is designed to lean heavily on the sunroof to achieve this range.
With an optimized design, a sunroof can cover 70 to 90 percent of annual mileage, Lightyear reported. The company is expanding the use of solar power to allow drivers to “jump the grid” with less reliance on charging infrastructure.
An estimated 0-100 km / h acceleration in the 10-second range underlines that the Lightyear One emphasizes efficiency rather than performance. Price doesn’t seem to be a priority either: Lightyear estimates it to be around $ 135,000 for the One, which is slated to launch in 2021.
Our real-world experience with sunroof systems so far has been disappointing, although the system in the 2020 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid may increase mileage slightly and provide, according to Hyundai, 1,200 electric kilometers per year.