Solar-Powered Car Ready To See Light Of Day

Sun 25th Apr 2021

Developed as an entry in the World Solar Challenge, the Lightyear One is likely to hit the streets of Europe later this year, making the concept of solar-powered mobility a reality.

The Lightyear One, is likely to arrive with a price-tag of £156,000 but is unlikely to reach British shores, not because there’s no sunlight, but because the factory in the Netherlands is currently only producing left-hand drives.

Speaking to Car magazine, the company’s founder and CEO, Lex Hoefsloot said that the Lightyear One is the first of a range of vehicles, with cheaper solar-powered alternatives available further down the line.

“We want to progress to mass-production models by 2024-2025 and it's being worked on now,' he told CAR magazine. “The mission of the company is clean mobility for everyone. Our technology has the potential to be much more energy-efficient than today's electric cars - it can get further on the same battery. It has the potential to be much more convenient than the electric cars people are used to today at quite an affordable price, because the battery can be smaller.”

Lightyear are producing 946 vehicles, of which an anticipated range of 450 miles is predicted, though even if it rains all week there is a plug-in option, which can provide 354 miles of range in one hour at 60kW. That 450 mile range is made capable due to specially devised tyres courtesy of Bridgestone, which due to their narrow size, has less drag.

Hoefsloot says the USP of the Lightyear One is that it will reduce the range-anxiety many current EV owners might have. 

He said: “The people who are buying these cars are in the market for a vehicle that eliminates the whole charging and range question; you can charge from a normal power socket, or you can get range from the solar panel directly or from the battery. Combined, this means you can take it anywhere, without being anxious about whether you can charge up on your trip.”