- Lightyear One has five square metres of solar panels on its roof and bonnet that collects energy from the sun
- Each year the solar cells generate enough energy to power the car for 20,000 kilometres (12,400 miles)
- The full purchase price is €149.000. A full charge of the small battery onboard allows for a range of 450 miles
- Owners can plug the car into a conventional electric vehicle charger and boost the batteries that way too
- Just 500 ‘pioneer’ examples will be made, with 100 already claimed. Customers need to pay a reservation fee of €119,000 (£106,166) to secure one
Dutch car maker Lightyear has unveiled the first ‘long-range’ solar car that’s claimed to provide customers with around 12,400 miles of motoring a year using free energy captured from the sun.
The Lightyear One was unveiled on Tuesday priced at €149,000 – around £134,000. Customers who want to secure one of the first 500 ‘pioneer’ examples with need to pay a reservation fee of €119,000 (£106,166).
The car, which has five square metres of solar panels on the roof and bonnet, is claimed to have a range of 725 kilometres (450 miles) from a full charge of the relatively small battery powering the vehicle.
With Department for Transport calculating that the average motorist covers 7,134 miles annually, it means Britons could drive all-year-round for free – granted the sun comes out for long enough to charge the One’s battery.
- Lightyears ahead? This is the Lightyear One – the world’s first ‘long-range’ solar car that promises to cover 450 miles with a full battery
At the launch event in Katwijk, Holland, bosses revealed key pieces of information about the solar car that’s due to be delivered to owners in 2021.
They said it can be charged directly from the sun, which can generate a maximum of 20,000km worth of free energy per year.
But it can also be charged from existing electric vehicle plug-in points while it’s also boosting the batteries using its solar panels, effectively charging much faster than traditional EVs already on the market.
An overnight charge from a 230-volt socket will provide customers with 400km of range, around 250 miles.
Lex Hoefsloot, ceo and co-founder of Lightyear said the car ‘represents a new era of driving. ‘Two years of dreaming, thinking and working hard have led to this milestone, which is a giant leap towards achieving our mission of making clean mobility available to everyone.’
Lightyear was founded in 2016 by the Solar Team Eindhoven, which won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Lightyear says car itself is constructed from high-tech composite materials so that it is super light – to extend the range – but strong enough to withstand crash impacts and pass stringent safety regulations.
The design is super aerodynamic in a bid to reduce drag and, again, extended the range.
The small battery pack installed in the One powers the four driven wheels independently, so no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.
The roof and bonnet is made up of a combined five square meters of integrated solar cells in safety glass.
The Dutch car firm says construction of these is so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing damage.
In addition to solar power, Lightyear One can be charged at a (fast) charging station or even a regular outlet, it added.
Hoefsloot said the One was the first in a range of models from the brand, which is also working on autonomous systems for its upcoming vehicles.
‘Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market; Lightyear One is the first long-range solar car and has staggering specifications,’ he continued.
‘The next models we plan to develop will have a lower purchase price. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users.’