CONSULTANCY | PRODUCT DESIGN | MECHANICAL ENGINEERING | SOURCING
LIGHTYEAR ONE SOLAR CAR
Every once in a while a project comes along that rethinks the world as we know it and makes you proud to be able to contribute to its cause. The Lightyear One solar car certainly belongs to this category. Studio Mango works alongside the team of Lightyear One and Granstudio in the realization of this project. The role of Studio Mango is focused on the design assistance, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing of all the exterior lighting units of the vehicle.
Currently, up to 12% of all European greenhouse gases are emitted by cars, a number that will quickly increase if things remain as they are today. This is especially true in other parts of the world where a growing middle class is increasingly buying vehicles. In addition, many countries are struggling to build the infrastructure required to charge electric cars. These problems were recognized by several members of the award-winning World Solar Challenge team of the Technical University of Eindhoven. With their knowledge of the developed technology from the races they started to dream about the world’s first solar car for daily use. This idea inspired them to found the Lightyear company and not long after its founding they partnered with Studio Mango amongst a host of other talented companies to assist in the design and engineering to bring the Lightyear One to life.
The exterior design of the vehicle is a hyper aerodynamic shell with the lowest Cx value (drag coefficient / air resistance) rated of any car in the world to date. To reach such a low drag coefficient Lightyear rethought the concept of a car from the ground up to optimize the airflow around and under the car; optimizing every part from the chassis to the side mirrors and from the crash cone to the luggage compartment. Not only does it make the car look sleek, but it drastically reduces energy consumption. The roof and bonnet have 5 square meters of solar cells integrated in them, these have been specially developed by Lightyear to ensure that shadow spots do not bring down efficiency as with normal panels. These integrated solar cells on average charge the batteries with an additional 12 kilometers per hour even whilst driving so the “solar” range continues to extend with every hour of sunlight up to 20.000 km per year. Besides the panels it is the optimized aerodynamics, state-of-the-art use of materials to reduce weight, relatively small battery and in-wheel motors which gives the Lightyear One a range of up to 725 km.
The LED powered outer lighting units are a marvel of optimal use of lightguides and a minimal amount of LED’s to ensure low power consumption and increase the overall range of the vehicle; their design and materialization stands out and makes them one of the coolest features of the vehicle.
The Lightyear One was selected as national icon by the Dutch government as the most groundbreaking project with global impact in 2019. Get ready to have the sun power your future road trips, no need to stop for gas or charging no more just for drinks and sandwiches.