Lightyear has the first prototype of the Lightyear One, an electric vehicle that is covered with solar panels and that is planned to deliver to the consumer in 2021. The car company was founded in 2016 by former members of Solar Team Eindhoven, a team of engineering students who won the solar-powered motors. World Solar Challenge race in 2013, 2015 and 2017.
While the team claims the car will take 450 miles (725 km) from the built-in battery range, the real draw is the five square meter solar panels that cover the roof and hood and can charge the car's battery with up to 12 km range per hour. Lightyear claims that these solar cells are 20 percent more efficient than traditional models, and they are wrapped in safety glass to protect them from damage.
Twelve km / h is not very heavy, so it is probably better to consider the Lightyear One "solar car" as a 450-mile electric car that also happens to have solar panels. If that's right, that would in itself be a pretty impressive range, faster than the market-leading 370 miles of the range that the Tesla Model S is capable of, even taking into account differences in standards for electric vehicles.
Fortunately, when you consider how little energy you get from sunlight, the Lightyear One can also be charged as a more traditional electrical plug-in. It supports up to 60 kW fast charging, which means it has a range of 507 km per hour of charging time. The car has a total of four electric motors, with which it can accelerate in 10 seconds from 0 to 100 km / h.
Lightyear was founded by a group of former students from the University of Eindhoven taking the World Solar Challenge race with their "Stella"Solar cars. These vehicles could actually generate more power from their solar panels than they used on average, meaning that you could end a journey with more load than when you started.
Lightyear is now taking orders for the first 500 Lightyear One cars for a reservation price of € 119,000 (approximately $ 135,000). The car itself is expected to have a starting price of € 149,000 (approximately $ 170,000). Electrek reports that production is expected to start slowly in the beginning, and Lightyear has not given too many details about how it makes the cars. That high asking price can also be a difficult sale. For that money you could probably buy yourself a top class electric car, install solar panels on your house and still come up with changes. In addition, the increased power of your panels may mean that your electric car generally works more on solar energy.