“The Lightyear One is literally EV Nirvana”
Bridgestone is of course a global tyre giant, but the brand also knows a thing or two about solar. Just check out the World Solar Challenge held biannually here. The brand has joined Netherlands based Lightyear, a solar software company with a focus on electric vehicles. The result is the Lightyear One an ultra-range EV with a solar panel roof.
The End Of Range Anxiety?
Bridgestone supplied its ENLITEN technology on Turanza Eco tyres. These low resistance tyres help the Lightyear One travel up to 725km.
The collaboration is set to make the long-haul EV commercially available by the end of 2021.
Bridgestone states that research suggests 50 per cent of European drivers consider acquiring a fully electric vehicle, and yet 37 per cent are still sceptical about doing so due to concerns around efficiency and limited range.
A Light Year Ahead Of The Rest
The Lightyear One is literally EV Nirvana if it can perform what is suggested. Charged directly by the sun, the Lightyear One scores a massive solar panel roof. The solar experts at the company reckon it’s the most aerodynamic production car ever made.
The high inflation pressures, slim design and low rolling resistance Turanza Eco rubber allow for a smaller battery onboard. To be fair the tyres are more than just “rubber”. So, I’ll hand it over to the experts to explain:
The tyre’s silica dispersion has been improved by applying a new mixing technology, there is a 3.6kg (around 10%) overall reduction in the tyre’s weight per vehicle , without any compromise on wear mileage and grip.
Bridgestone has some pretty bright sparks; I’ve personally been schooled by them in the past. The brand has software called “Virtual Tyre Development” technology. To put it simply, it negates the need to circumnavigate the world. Instead, it can produce 40,000 kilometres of testing without leaving the building.
Bridgestone Continue Uni Deal
Lightyear One was conceived at the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a 3,000km race across the Australian Outback that pushes the limits of technological innovation and solar-powered mobility. I attended the event in late 2019 with my good mate Shane Jacobson who is a Brand Ambassador for Bridgestone.
He hasn’t returned my calls since, but everyone is busy right?
Bridgestone as a result has hooked up with Eindhoven Technical University and the people behind Lightyear for the last eight years. Solar Team Eindhoven, the birth ground of Lightyear, won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge’s Cruiser Cup four consecutive times, from 2016-2019.
When Will It Hit The Road?
There’s no local pricing or even a launch date. However, the plan is for the Lightyear One to hit test tracks in Q2 2021 and be commercially available by the end of Q4 for some overseas markets.
This is no pipe dream, it’s real news and it will happen.