Could this Solar-Powered Car Be the Clean Alternative We Are Looking For?
While governments and the automotive industry think that electrification is the clean way forward, we always knew of the tiny problem of the energy source. Much of the world’s energy source is still generated from fossil fuel. 38% of energy source worldwide is coal—you know, that thing that emits harmful pollutants when burnt.
But you know what energy source is 100% clean and there are tons and tons of it for the next 5 billion years? And is free? The Sun.
Out of the Netherlands comes Lightyear One, a solar-powered car that is getting the hemp-trouser-wearing community excited. (Move over, Tesla.)
Let’s start with how it looks, which, let’s be honest, will determine if people would want to drive it or not. The sloping lines and covered rear wheels are meant to improve aerodynamics but also gives the car an overall sleek and stylish look. So, cool factor? Check.
Next, practicality. The Lightyear One still comes with a charging port and the batteries can hold enough charge for 450 miles. BUT, the difference is that solar panels can soak up enough energy for 7.5 miles of travel within an hour of being exposed to the Sun, while parked or on the move. With a solar-powered car, you don’t have to look for a charger; essentially, the entire outdoors is one big charging port. So, it’s perfect for zipping around the city in the day.
Range anxiety, however, will still kick in if you’re driving at night. There might not be a huge market for the Lightyear One in Norway where, in some parts, the night stretches on for up to 6 months. But in our backyard of Southeast Asia, we have plenty of sunlight all year round and for 12 hours a day.
The Lightyear One has 5sqm of solar panels covering it, the same sort used on roofs. What happens if the car gets into a crash? Is there some Final Destination sort of ending waiting for you? The company claims that the panels are strong and even in an accident, will not shatter into sharp pieces.
That’s what they say:
Granted, making the solar panels is not without negative environmental impact. But if they can be made sustainably and with long service life, then they unlock free, clean energy for everyone. Oh, and also for us to cruise down the road in style without leaving a trail of pollution behind.
The company, Lightyear, says its mission is to “create clean mobility for everyone”. Apparently “everyone” means the rich, because the Lightyear One is priced at a whopping €149,000. Yup, we’re taking off our hemp-trousers and burning them over coals right now.