Self Sufficient Solar Powered EVs May Soon Hit the Road

Lightyear 0 Solar powered EV

Netherland based startup Lightyear, the solar powered electric vehicle manufacturer, has recently secured an additional capital investment of €81 million ($80.2 million) from Invest-NL, development agencies of North Brabant & Limburg and private funds such as SHV and DELA. Lightyear says the new funding will help the company stay on track to start manufacturing its first model, the Lightyear 0, by the end of this year and it will also aid in the development of its second model.

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear, after receiving the funding said:

In the current market environment, our technology has incredible potential for positive societal influence, so I see investments of this caliber as a testament to Lightyear’s product vision. Thanks to the support of Invest-NL, the entire consortium, and our other investors and strategic partners, Lightyear is well positioned and remains on track to deliver the world’s first solar car and work towards a more sustainable future.

The dutch automaker plans to deliver the world’s first solar EV, the Lightyear 0 by November of this year which will be followed by the Lightyear 2 model that is still in the development phase. For Lightyear 0, the company has kept a production target of just 1,000 cars for now and the Lightyear 2 which is slated to go into production sometime in 2025, will be a mass volume vehicle with affordable pricing. Lightyear 0 is an expensive proposition which comes with a base price of €250,000 ($247,000) whereas the Lightyear 2 carries a much more realistic price tag of €30,000 ($29,720). 

The startup says its solar powered cars are aimed to eradicate the range anxiety from the owner’s mind. Now the owners don’t have to find a charger everytime they park their vehicle, the solar panels on lightyear’s vehicle will provide an additional range of 6.2 miles (10km) for every hour of charging in the sun. Lightyear 0 can cover 388 miles on battery power and along with the energy supplied from the solar panels, it can have a range of more than 600 miles.

Company claims that the Lightyear 0 can travel upto 43 miles on solar power per day, even in cloudy conditions, which we think is sufficient for the daily commute duties. It also says, the EV can be driven for upto two months before having to plug in a charger in cloudy climates, based on an average commute of around 21 miles per day. And in sunnier climates the charging interval can go upto seven months.

These are some of the highlighting features of the lightyears 0 and the test drives of the pre-production model also point towards a promising product as the real world efficiency figures are closer to the company claims. Although the company has not disclosed lifespan of the battery or solar panels on the Lightyear 0, customers can expect warranty of 8-10 years or upto 100,000 miles for the battery and a lifespan of 25-30 years for the solar panels.

However solar powered EVs are nothing new in the automotive world, in the past as well many attempts have been made but this time it seems the world’s first solar powered EV will enter production. Even so, with climate change bringing forward some serious concerns, the case for EVs has grown strong, it would be interesting to see how solar powered EVs make a place for themselves in the EV market. Because solar powered EVs come with their own set of challenges, places which do not receive enough sunlight throughout the year, defeats the whole purpose of solar panels on the car.

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