The Lightyear 0 is the world’s most aero-efficient production vehicle, following wind tunnel testing that confirms its 0.175 cd drag co-efficient.
Introduced as ‘Lightyear One’ in June 2019 before its redevelopment as, what Dutch independent Lightyear calls, “the world’s first production-ready solar car,” the 0 uses a propulsion system that combines four electric motors – one for each wheel – with solar cells enveloped within the sedan’s roof. To maximize electric range, the production-ready low drag shape, first unveiled in June this year, was said to create just 0.19 cd drag co-efficient.
Now, following wind tunnel testing at Stuttgart, Germany (under ‘Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure’ conditions), Lightyear claims the ‘0’ is now the world’s most aero-efficient production model, its revised 0.175 cd undercutting the likes of the Mercedes EQS sedan and the Lucid Air, which boast 0.20 cd and 0.21 cd respectively.
The announcement comes two months before the Lightyear 0 is set to go into production, though the limited run will include just 946 examples of the sedan, each of which will be available for a lofty quarter-million euros apiece (around $336,000).
Lightyear does claim, however, that the low-drag nature of the 0’s bodywork is about “more than setting records,” stating that the low-slung design is at the forefront of the company’s “pursuit of truly clean mobility” mantra. The sedan’s design for example prioritizes minimal air resistance – said to account for up to 60 per cent of EV energy consumption at high speeds – and reducing the strain on the battery pack, all without affecting the vehicle’s ride quality. In June, Lightyear stated that this combination, plus the solar cells, could produce an estimated electric range of 695 km, though no further details have been provided given the sedan’s revised drag co-efficient.
It should also be noted though that, while the Lightyear 0 does undercut the aforementioned production models from Lucid and Mercedes, the Silver Arrows’ Vision EQXX concept boasts a lower drag co-efficient at just 0.17 cd. And while the Vision itself is not scheduled to go into production in its entirety, elements of the research vehicle – including, most likely, its low slung design – will be filtered across future production models. It’s entirely possible then that Lightyear’s record may yet be short-lived.