Dutch company is starting deliveries of the world’s first production-ready solar car to customers later this year, promising months of charge-less driving in summer conditions.
Lightyear, founded in the Netherlands in 2016, is making 949 of the models featuring curved solar panels across the car’s hood and roof. Power derived from the sun will add as much as 70 kilometers (43 miles) of driving range per day from the sun.
“Electric cars are a step in the right direction, but they are dependent on the grid, which is still dependent on mostly fossil fuel energy,” Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Lex Hoefsloot said at the reveal of the 250,000-euro ($263,000) Lightyear 0 model. “Adding a new source, the sun, adds certainty that you will always have that charge and you will have to charge a lot less often.”
According to Lightyear the optimised solar roof and holistic design mean that the car can drive for weeks, even months, without charging. In cloudy climates, based on the average commute of around 35 kilometres per day, the car can drive for up to two months before needing to be charged. In sunnier countries, that could be up to seven months. Plugged into a regular home socket, Lightyear 0 can still charge 32 kilometres of range per hour.
The sustainable interior of the vehicle is vegan and eco-friendly, featuring plant-based leather, fabrics made from recycled PET bottles and wooden deco elements from sustainably-restructured rattan palm. Lightyear 0’s outer body panels are also made from reclaimed carbon; residual carbon fibre materials that would otherwise go to waste.
In June, the first test drives will be offered. In fall Lightyear will start-up production, with the first cars reaching their drivers in November. Lightyear hasn’t said anything about an India launch.
Lightyear has driven the car more than 700 kilometers on a single charge of a 60 kilowatt-hour battery. Lightyear 0 production solar car could run for 7 months without charging
Following the small production run of the Lightyear 0, the company plans to make a more affordable model at a starting price of 30,000 euros. Production is set to start in late 2024 or early 2025.
The Netherlands-based start-up, which specialises in scalable grid-independent solar electric vehicles, will accept pre-orders for the Lightyear 0 towards the end of this year.