Bridgestone and Lightyear team up on a solar-powered car | Automotive Industry News
Bridgestone claims to have designed tires specifically for Lightyear One, a product of a Netherlands-based startup that is described as the world’s first long-range solar electric vehicle, which is “ being put into commercial availability by the end of of this year ”.
Lightyear One offers a claimed range of 725 km, while being up to three times more fuel efficient than alternative electric vehicles currently on the market. The vehicle is charged directly by the sun through a large solar roof, minimizing CO2 emissions and user charging needs while maximizing efficiency.
Lightyear claims to have pushed the boundaries of current technology, designing a vehicle that has the best aerodynamic coefficient of any production car to date through substantial gains in many different areas of vehicle design. Lightyear was looking for a tire with very low rolling resistance and weight reduction in order to preserve battery life, maximize vehicle range and reduce environmental impact.
Bridgestone has developed bespoke Turanza Eco tires for Lightyear One, combining for the very first time its lightweight ENLITEN and ologic technologies. The technologies reduce weight through the use of less raw materials throughout the manufacturing process, while “reducing rolling resistance through an innovative tread, larger diameters, high inflation pressures and a slim design ”.
The very low rolling resistance of the tires also allows Lightyear One to benefit from a lighter battery. As a result, Turanza Eco tires are designed to increase range compared to alternative Bridgestone EV tires, which equates to a weight reduction of over 90 kg. In addition to helping the Lightyear One travel farther between charges, the tire’s silica dispersion has been improved by the application of new mixing technology, there is an overall reduction of 3.6 kg (approx. 10%) of the tire weight per vehicle, without compromising on wear, mileage and grip.
For the first time, Turanza Eco tires will carry the new Bridgestone EV branding on the sidewalls. The Bridgestone EV mark is applied to custom-designed tires for electric vehicles and indicates that the tires have undergone a rigorous testing process to receive approval from vehicle manufacturers. As a result, these tires support the unique characteristics of electric vehicles and meet the requirements of vehicle manufacturers for range, vehicle control and tire life.
Bridgestone has also used its virtual tire development technology which enables the performance of a tire to be accurately modeled without having to produce and physically test it, saving up to 40,000 kilometers in actual testing. outdoors and in the fleet. It can also reduce product development time and outdoor and in-fleet tire testing by up to 50 percent.
The foundations for Lightyear One were laid during the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, a 3,000 km race through the Australian Outback that pushes the boundaries of technological innovation and solar mobility. With this in mind, Bridgestone has been working with the Technical University of Eindhoven and the people behind Lightyear for eight years. Solar Team Eindhoven, the birthplace of Lightyear, has won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge Cruiser Cup four times in a row, from 2016 to 2019.
Emilio Tiberio, COO & CTO of Bridgestone EMIA, says: “Lightyear has impressed with its approach to sustainable mobility since we saw the team take on the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, and so we are delighted to play a role in the Lightyear One Bridgestone is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and 100% sustainable materials by 2050 and strategic partnerships are fundamental to achieving these goals. “
Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, adds: “We are particularly pleased to see this collaboration between Bridgestone and Lightyear, with two companies sharing a vision for future sustainable mobility coming together. The world is already experiencing unprecedented changes and challenges. innovation and cutting-edge technologies, we can work together to seize opportunities head-on and create a more sustainable world. “