The World’s First Solar-Powered Production Car Is Here!


The hearts of the hemp-trouser-wearing community are all aflutter as Dutch company, Lightyear, has announced that they are ready to start production on their solar-powered car as soon as November this year. The company had earlier revealed a concept car called Lightyear One, which the production-ready version was based on in terms of design and performance.

Behold, the Lightyear 0. 

Yes, 0 comes before, not after, 1, but maybe they forgot. 

Like an EV, the car still comes with a battery that can be charged by plugging it into an electric socket. A single charge gives you a range of 388 miles, which is just slightly less than the Tesla Model S range of 405 miles. However, the 5 sqm of solar panels on the exterior of Lightyear 0 will add up to six miles to the range each hour or a total of 44 miles a day, depending on how much sun you get in a day where you are and what time of the year it is.

The company claims that the car can be driven without needing a recharge for as long as two months in the summer in Amsterdam or for seven months in Portugal, one of the sunniest places in Europe. In Malaysia where this writer resides, it would probably be longer and that would be nice. Tipping the scale at just 1,575 kilogrames and having an impressive drag co-efficient of just 0.19 (meaning that it is incredibly aerodynamic) probably contributed to the very-good range.

The Lightyear 0’s body is made from residual carbon fibre which otherwise would have ended up in the landfill, so yay for the environment. But it’s not all green with a solar-powered car. While solar energy is considered a relatively clean source of renewable energy and besides the very obvious problem that the sun does not shine at night, the initial production of solar panels requires quite a lot of energy and solar panel recycling is still problematic.  And of course, you still need a battery to store the solar energy, and the environmental and human issues associated with battery production are widely known.

That said, at least most of the energy source used to power Lightyear 0 is clean. So, a smidge better than a conventional all-electric car.

Prices will start at €250,000, excluding VAT, but the company has already promised to launch a more affordable Lightyear Two that will be priced at just €30,000. Should call it Lightyear 0.5 and it’s not too late.

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