Sharjah revs up clean energy drive with solar-electric car - GulfToday

Sharjah revs up clean energy drive with solar-electric car


Officials have a closer look at Lightyear 0 at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park. Photo: Kamal Kassim

Jamil Khan, Senior Reporter

The Netherlands-based firm Lightyear has displayed one of its latest solar-electric cars, Lightyear 0, during a ceremony held at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP).

The car is the world's first long-range production-ready solar electric vehicle, as the firm gets ready to set up its office in the SRTI Park for technology transfer and test locally for further upgradation.

The car was unveiled by Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, along with a number of representatives of the Dutch high-tech company and others from related sectors in the UAE.

CEO of SRTI Park Hussain Al Mahmoudi said, “This is a great day for SRTIP as we are the first in this part of the world to unveil this unique car that is making waves globally. Having Lightyear at the SRTI Park boosts the UAE’s position as a nation at the frontline of transition to sustainable mobility, and in doing so, contributes to combating climate change through innovative technologies.

"The UAE is already the world’s third largest producer of solar power, making it the perfect place to test and prove Lightyear’s solar extender solutions for EVs. We are confident that Lightyear’s presence at SRTI Park will spark interest among all."

Talking to the media, he said that the testing of Lightyear 0 will start in the Sharjah soon and will be available to buy for local customers from the firm’s website which shows the price at around 250,000 euros (Dhs900,000).

The vehicle has a top speed of 160km per hour and a battery range of 625km. It also has an additional daily solar range of up to 70km and an annual solar yield of up to 11,000km.

In the pursuit of truly clean mobility, Lightyear puts energy efficiency at the forefront of its design philosophy.

Lightyear 0’s energy consumption, and therefore its efficiency, depends on three key elements: aerodynamics, rolling resistance, and motors.

Aerodynamics is a major energy consumer, with air resistance increasing significantly at higher driving speeds.

At highway speeds, aerodynamics accounts for around sixty per cent of overall energy consumption. Battery range is one of the main points of concern for potential and current electric car drivers and therefore many EV manufacturers are continually optimising their designs to improve the range.

Lightyear 0 tackles the challenge with a design that minimises air resistance and therefore achieves a very low drag coefficient, all while keeping lift force and its balance to ensure a smooth ride for drivers.

A good (low) drag coefficient means a more economical car that consumes less energy and, as a result, can drive further on one charge.

The drag coefficient is a major contributor to the overall efficiency that places Lightyear 0 as a market frontrunner.

Bringing the solar-electric car, Lightyear 0, into Sharjah was part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Lightyear, the Dutch high-tech company developing the world’s most aerodynamic production car, with a record-breaking drag coefficient of 0.175 (Cd).

The lower the drag coefficient, the better the car will efficiently use its energy, giving drivers more range and less reliance on electrical charging.

It reflects the rising international importance of Sharjah in enabling development of sustainable mobility solutions through the SRTI Park.

The company’s officials stated that Lightyear 2 will be unveiled in 2024-25 at an affordable price range.

Al Mahmoudi revealed that the Park is helping the company raise funds from the region.

“In addition, we are going to test some of the technology related to this car in this region through our universities and students,” he said, adding that a research centre would also be set up in Sharjah in partnership with Lightyear.

“The students of local universities will be given the opportunity to work closely with the Dutch firm to enhance the technology and transfer the information before the initiative of starting production locally. The UAE is an ideal place for testing solar technology. We are already dealing with different global companies working in the field of solar and electric cars to offer the opportunity to develop solar products here in the region. The SRTIP bridges the gap between private, government and universities. Soon, you will see a car which did 3,000km on solar energy here. We are also working to bring the hydrogen car into the country,” he said.


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