Later this year, a Dutch company will begin shipping the world’s first production-ready solar car to clients, offering months of charge-free driving in summer weather.
Lightyear, founded in the Netherlands in 2016, is making 949 of the models featuring curved solar panels across the car’s hood and roof. Power derived from the sun will add as much as 70 kilometers (43 miles) of driving range per day from the sun.
“Electric cars are a step in the right direction, but they are dependent on the grid, which is still dependent on mostly fossil fuel energy,” Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Lex Hoefsloot said at the reveal of the 250,000-euro ($263,000) Lightyear 0 model.
“Adding a new source, the sun, adds certainty that you will always have that charge and you will have to charge a lot less often.”
According to the business, the automobile, which will be manufactured by Valmet Automotive in Finland, will allow for two months of driving without charging in Amsterdam during the summer and up to seven months in Portugal.
Because solar panels require a big area, cars driven by the sun have struggled to progress past the prototype stage.
On a single charge of the 60 kilowatt-hour battery, Lightyear has driven the automobile over 700 kilometres.
Following the Lightyear 0’s limited manufacturing run, the business hopes to release a more economical model with a starting price of 30,000 euros. The production will begin in late 2024 or early 2025.