Stella, Solar Team Eindhoven’s solar car, won the World Solar Challenge three times. Two years ago, captain Lex Hoefsloot and four of his fellow students founded Lightyear. In 2020, this startup will be marketing the first electric self-charging family car using solar energy. Sioux is helping them, as an investor and technology partner.
Lex Hoefsloot: ‘The topic did come up a lot. With Stella, we proved that it’s technologically possible. The big question was whether there was a need for this kind of car.’
Lex Hoefsloot: ‘It is incredibly tricky to develop electric cars while simultaneously setting up a charging network with national coverage. To solve this circular problem, it is important for electric cars to be able to get around without a heavy charging network, which brings us to solar cars. Our ambition is to create zero-emission mobility, for everyone, everywhere.’
Lex Hoefsloot: ‘Finding the optimal balance between the consumption and generation of energy. The Lightyear One is lightweight and aerodynamic first and foremost, but it compares to a Tesla Model S in terms of size, exclusivity, and intelligence. In its maximum configuration, the batteries can last you for around eight hundred kilometers. Combined with the solar roof, that means you would not need to charge it manually for weeks to months on end.’
Lex Hoefsloot: ‘In 2019. We are fully reengineering Stella: body, dashboard, wire harness, interior, tyres, you name it. Some challenges we are facing are how to fold the solar panels on the roof and developing the corresponding new electronics. On top of that, we are dealing with classic automotive themes such as safety and comfort. And of course, the whole thing has to look cool. Every decision we make has an impact on the energy balance I mentioned, which makes all of these things very complex.’
Lex Hoefsloot: ‘By investing money, by buying one of our cars, and by handling the entire software development process. They are experienced in the automotive industry, have the right certifications, and create designs with a focus on robustness and manufacturability. On top of that, they like to share their expertise. All of this makes for a really comfortable working process. And above all, Sioux believes in us, unlike the major car brands. Together, we will prove them wrong.’
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