Lightyear One to the rescue!
Harnessing the power of the sun as a replacement for fossil fuels is not a new idea. But aside from futuristic concepts and minor gimmicks, the automotive industry hasn't yet mastered the ability to put the sun's energy to good use. Toyota was one of the early pioneers in this area, using a small solar panel on the Prius to keep the car's cabin ventilated, but a new automaker called Lightyear is about to revolutionize the market with a long-range solar-powered car. To infinity... and beyond!
Lightyear is a Dutch mobility company and its new car is simply called the Lightyear One. The company plans to start production in 2021 with a limited run of just 500 units, and judging by these new photos, Lightyear won't have any trouble finding buyers.
Even though the Lightyear One is a few years away from production, it already has a WLTP-rated range of 725 kilometers (approximately 450 miles). Of course, the EPA-rated range will be slightly lower, but this is still an impressive figure. To achieve this astonishing range, the car has an extremely low drag coefficient of 0.20cd, which is even lower than the outgoing Mercedes-Benz CLA.
The hood and roof are then mounted with solar panels to capture the sun's energy and generate an additional 50 to 70 kilometers (31 to 43 miles) of range on a hot summer day. Lightyear says the solar panels are so strong that you can actually walk on them.
The Lightyear One can also be plugged in and charged, gaining around 230 miles of range overnight on a 230V socket. Lightyear claims the solar panels will limit the number of charging stops on long journeys, meaning the trip from Amsterdam to Innsbruck (1,120 miles) would only take two charging stops. The final design has yet to be finalized, so it may not look exactly as it does in these pictures.
Lightyear says it plans to build additional electric cars but needs to start selling in the high price bracket because of the high build costs, but at least the company's next model should be more affordable. If you want to own one of the first 500 cars, Lightyear has already sold out the first 100 but is taking reservations for the remaining 400 at a cost of €149,000 (around $170,000).