Watch the oddball Lightyear One EV squeeze more range from less battery

The Lightyear One is unique among mainstream EVs. Before the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQXX wowed us with its slippery body style and a claimed 620+ miles of range, the Netherlands-based EV maker unveiled the One solar-assisted EV in 2019. It came with a similar low-slung, longtail design to slice the wind with utmost efficiency.

In its latest YouTube video, the Lightyear One achieved an energy consumption of 141 watt-hours per kilometer at a steady 86 mph (130 kph) while testing its new Bridgestone tires. If you do the math, that's roughly 4.4 miles per kilowatt-hour. Considering the One's 60 kWh battery pack, it equates to about 246 miles of range.

If you think that's brilliant, hear this: If you drive at a more relaxed 52 mph, the Lightyear One delivers over 440 miles (710 km) of range on a single full charge on the WLTP cycle. It was the longest distance achieved by an electric vehicle with a 60 kWh battery, and Lightyear claims the One consumes 50-percent less energy than other EVs when driven at a similar pace.

You can thank the Lightyear One's slender shape and bespoke Bridgestone tires for achieving higher range numbers despite its skinny battery pack. Still, special mention goes to the five meters of solar panels on the EV's hood, roof, and trunk, allowing you to drive for months without plugging in, said Lightyear. That's mightily impressive for a four-door, five-seat sedan that accelerates from zero to 60 mph in under ten seconds.

In addition, the solar panels provide 7.5 miles of range for every hour of charging. If you use a Level 1 (3.7 kW) or Level 2 (22 kW) charger, you can add 22 miles and 130 miles per hour of charging, respectively. But if you have access to a 60 kW DC fast-charger, an hour of charging yields approximately 354 miles of range.

The Lightyear One proves that you don't need an extensive array of heavy batteries to go further. The One has four in-wheel electric motors and an estimated $175,000 base price. It's a lot of money, sure, but it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless charging, and over-the-air (OTA) updates among its bevy of modern convenience features.

We expect the Lightyear One to enter production at the Valmet Automotive manufacturing facility in Finland. On a similar note, Lightyear is working hard on the Two EV, a shorter-range electric car arriving in 2024 or 2025.