While solar panels aren't new finding news way to extend their vehicle's range, their battery capacity, and their wind resistance on the panels is all important.
The term drag in the automobile sector is used to denote air resistance of a vehicle. Whenever a vehicle moves forward, it has to push air away and this creates some resistance or drag. This drag not only slows down the car but it also makes it’s engine work harder and use more fuel to propel it forward. In simple terms, a better-designed car has a lower drag coefficient and it is more efficient in saving fuel. Achieving a low aerodynamic coefficient drag is not easy, especially when you have a solar panel attached to your car.
The solar cells on the Lightyear One are 5 m2 in size, which was necessary for generating a considerable amount of electricity. Because of the solar cells, the car has an elongated shape, which enables air to flow over it better. Additionally, the designers implemented wheel covers and replaced the side mirrors with cameras, which further drove down the drag coefficient (Cd) to 0.20. With a Cd of 0.20, the Lightyear One is claimed to the most aerodynamic 5-seater vehicle.
Lightyear unveiled its solar electric car Lightyear One back in June this year and almost immediately, it captured everyone’s attention. The vehicle is the first long-range solar car that claims to have a whopping range of 725 km on a single charge. This is possible due to the solar panel it comes with, which recharges the car’s batteries whenever sunlight hits it. This doesn’t mean that the car can’t be charged conventionally. It supports electric charging and can be charged at a (fast)charging station or even a regular outlet.
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