The 0’s astounding efficiency comes from many places: the aerodynamic efficiency for one but also the extremely narrow tyres and the unique electric motor design.

Rather than use inboard motors, like all makers of road-going EVs have done to date, Lightyear has co-developed an in-wheel motor with Slovakian supplier TK. Along with a thin disc for friction braking, one of these is entirely enclosed within each of the car’s narrow wheels.

Each motor assembly does increase unsprung weight by 37kg, but this is partially offset by the narrowness of the wheel (so there’s less tyre and rim) and the lack of a transmission, driveline, differential and suchlike.

The whole car weighs 1575kg at the kerb, so between that and the slippery aero, there’s not a terribly large amount of car to haul around.

I can’t predict whether Lightyear will survive long enough to follow up the 0 with the planned 2. If the 0 is the proof-of-concept-put-on-sale Tesla Roadster of solar cars, the 2 is the Tesla Model 3. Due in 2024 or 2025, it will supposedly be priced from just €30,000 (£25,810).

Lightyear has been on a hiring spree lately and appears to be going full speed ahead on development, but bringing a car to market is a very expensive proposition, and scoring a large investment as an EV start-up is a lot harder than it was just a year or two ago.

But I hope Lightyear does survive. I arrived as a solar sceptic but now, while still not quite a true believer, I can see potential in the technology.

By combining enough solar cells to generate as much as 44 miles’ worth of electricity per day with a wildly efficient design, Lightyear has given us another potential direction for our electrified future. Young minds bring fresh ideas, and the world of EVs looks more interesting with Lightyear in it.


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