Have you ever thought electric vehicles should be equipped with solar panels? If so, you are not alone. A dutch company, Lightyear, will be the first to produce a solar-assisted vehicle, the Lightyear 0. It will be available this November in Europe.
The vehicle is equipped with curved solar panels that are located on the roof, hood, and trunk. They allow the vehicle to charge while the car is in motion and stationary. In total, the vehicle has a range of 388 miles per charge, which can be extended by 44 miles with solar panels.
One downside of this model is that it can only reach a speed of 100mph. But this was because the focus was on making sure the range is longer. That said, at least in the US, this would be more than satisfactory as the highest speed limit is 85 mph.
Well, legally, anyway.
So, how efficient are the solar panels you ask? Well, every hour it spends in the sun can add an additional six miles worth of charge. It’s the first of its kind, and as such, it is coming with a premium price tag of $262,000.
There will be 946 Lightyear 0s available at launch.
How Often Does the Lightyear 0 Need to Be Charged?
While the vehicle is equipped with solar panels, you can still charge it. But how much you need to depends on your driving habits and climate.
For example, according to the company, in a warm country like Spain or Portugal, you may not need to charge for seven months. That is, assuming that your daily commute is very low (22 miles a day).
Of course, if you live in a different climate, you may have to charge more frequently.
While the solar panels will charge while the vehicle is in motion, you will still use more energy than the panels can generate, thus, long-distance trips will still require you to stop at charge stations.
However, you will get further than most EVs on the market. For comparison, the Lightyear 0 can travel further than a Tesla Model 3.
That Price Tag Is Insane!
While this is a huge milestone for the automotive industry, there’s no denying that it is an expensive car. However, it makes sense.
First off, remember that this car will only launch with 946 vehicles available (more will be produced). Due to the scarcity, the price will naturally be high. The technology within the car is also state of the art, as no other vehicle is equipped with solar panels.
Since the components are not mass-produced, prices are higher. However, do not get discouraged, as this is more of a proof of concept.
Lightyear has already stated plans for the Lightyear Two. This will be the more affordable model that is expected to launch for $31,215 in 2024/2025. This will ensure that the car is competitive with not only other EVs but also with traditional fossil fuel vehicles.
However, it could be some time before we see these models available in the United States.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.