Although electric vehicles are better for the environment than regular vehicles that are consuming fossil fuels, they need to be charged often, so they still depend on the grid which may or may not be producing clean energy depending on which sources are being used. The Lightyear One is a prototype that might benefit this situation, as it retrieves the power it requires to function from the sun.
Lightyear (originally Stella) was founded in the Netherlands by a group of students from varying faculties in the Eindhoven University of Technology. The electric vehicle – that was just recently revealed and seems to be ready to hit the road – has a smooth user-friendly design and a range of 450 miles (724km) on one single charge. This is an unprecedented range for solar powered cars made for the practical consumer market.
Although the vehicle isn’t ready for the road just yet, Lightyear says they have already made more than 100 sales. Production is expected to start in 2021 with 500 extra units available to be reserved on initial release, but that will cost you just shy of €120,000 (roughly $136,000). Although expensive, it’s a definitive stepping stone for electric vehicles of the future.
Regular and solar charging
Lightyear One is more than a simple plug-in electric vehicle with a few solar panels on its roof. It is designed from concept to production to optimize its performance from a smaller than average battery that can directly absorb the sun from its roof and its hood, which are coated with 16 square feet of solar cells. The cells are fixed with safety glass to promote passenger protection. The vehicle can also use power from normal outlets and established charging stations. Because it’s made to be extra light and energy conservative, one night of charging from a typical European 230V outlet will give you a range of roughly 250 miles (402km).