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Bridgestone partners with Lightyear for first solar EV

Bridgestone has announced that it will provide tires for Netherlands-based Lightyear, which has produced a solar-powered battery-electric vehicle. The Lightyear One will use a specially developed tire that has low rolling resistance and requires less raw materials to produce, minimizing its environmental impact while improving performance. This latest EV aims to address range anxiety and promises up to 450 miles of range while being three times more efficient than EVs currently on the market.

Lightyear achieves high efficiency levels by equipping the car with a large solar panel on the roof and the hood, minimizing the need to charge and cutting CO2 emissions. Low rolling resistance tires that are also light help to preserve battery life and maximize overall range. Bridgestone developed a custom Turanza Eco tire for the Lightyear One, featuring its ENLITEN and ologic technologies to keep weight down through the use of fewer raw materials, special tread patterns, larger diameter, and slim design.

The Turanza Eco’s low rolling resistance boosts the Lightyear One’s range, allowing it to use a lighter battery and cutting weight by nearly 200 pounds. New mixing technology has also improved the silica dispersion, reducing the tire’s weight by 10 percent without sacrificing wear mileage or grip. Bridgestone’s Turanza Eco tire will also wear the Bridgestone EV logo on the sidewall. This indicates that it’s been specifically made to support the needs of EVs and got approval from manufacturers that it meets their requirements for battery range, vehicle control, and tire wear life.

In developing the Turanza Eco, Bridgestone used its virtual tire development program technology to accurately model a tire’s performance without having to make it. Bridgestone says this saves 25,000 miles in real-life outdoor and fleet testing while cutting development time by 50 percent.

Foundations for the Lightyear One were laid out during the Bridgestone Solar Challenge, which is a 1,900-mile race through the Australian Outback to show off advancements in solar-powered mobility and technological innovation. Bridgestone has been collaborating with Eindhoven University and Lightyear for eight years, the latter of which started within Solar Team Eindhoven, the team that won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge’s Cruise Cup four times.

“Lightyear has impressed us with their approach to sustainable mobility ever since we saw the team take on the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, and we’re excited to play a part in the Lightyear One project,” said Emilio Tiberio, COO, and CTO of Bridgestone EMIA. “Bridgestone is committed to a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 and 100% sustainable materials by 2050 and strategic partnerships are fundamental to achieving these goals.”

Bridgestone is the latest tire maker to add a tire made specifically for EVs. One of its key competitors, Michelin, recently announced the Pilot Sport EV, which is specifically developed for high-powered and performance-oriented EVs.

Written by Stefan Ogbac
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