Later this year, a Dutch company will start delivering the world’s first production-ready solar vehicle to clients, claiming months of charge-free driving in summer weather.
Lightyear, which was launched in the Netherlands in 2016, is producing 949 cars with curved solar panels that run the length of the hood and top. The sun’s energy may provide up to 70 kilometers (43 miles) of additional driving range every day.
At the unveiling of the 250,000-euro ($263,000) Lightyear 0 model, Chief Executive Officer, and Co-Founder Lex Hoefsloot remarked, “Electric cars are a start in the right direction, but they are dependent on the grid, which is still mostly dependent on fossil fuel generation.” “Adding a new source, the sun ensures that you will always have that charge and that you will need to charge much less frequently.”
According to Lightyear, the car’s optimized solar roof and holistic design allow it to run for weeks, if not months, without needing to be recharged. In gloomy areas, the automobile may travel for up to two months before needing to be charged, depending on an average commute of roughly 35 kilometers per day. This might last up to seven months in sunny countries.
Lightyear 0 can still charge 32 kilometers of range per hour when plugged into a standard household outlet.
Plant-based leather, materials manufactured from recycled PET bottles, and wooden decor components made from sustainably restructured rattan make up the vehicle’s sustainable interior. The outside body panels of Lightyear 0 are likewise comprised of recycled carbon; leftover carbon fiber components that would otherwise be thrown away.
The first test drives will be available in June. Lightyear will begin manufacturing in the fall, with the first cars arriving in November. There has been no mention of a launch in India by Lightyear.
On a single charge of a 60-kilowatt-hour battery, Lightyear has driven the automobile for almost 700 kilometers. The Lightyear 0 manufacturing solar vehicle could go for seven months without needing to be recharged.
Following the Lightyear’s limited manufacturing run, the company hopes to release a more economical variant with a starting price of 30,000 euros. The production will begin in late 2024 or early 2025.