Lightyear reveals the Lightyear One: the world's first long-range, solar powered car

Photos: Lightyear

Photos: Lightyear

By Nicholas Yekikian

Dutch clean mobility company Lightyear took the wraps off the world’s first production long-range, solar-powered car today. The Lightyear One – formerly known as Stella –  is a prototype vehicle that aims to make EVs even better for the environment. The company entered World Solar Challenge in Australia while they were still at university and won with Stella. The Lightyear One is the company’s attempt to mass produce that concept.

While all battery electric vehicles don’t emit any pollution into the atmosphere, they still rely on being getting recharged from a power grid. But how the electricity that charges these EVs up can be either clean or dirty and there’s no way to determine how at the moment. The Lightyear One is an attempt to do away with the need for a charging grid altogether, even if charging it up from an outlet is an option.

The Lightyear One boasts a claimed range of 450 miles one a single overnight charge from, of course, an outlet. Leaving it out on the sun during the day will earn you an extra 12 kilometers (per hour of charging) of range.

The One will cost buyers around $135,000, and for the steep reservation fee you’ll get one of the first 500 production models, but interested parties might want to act fact. Lightyear claims that they’ve already sold “over one hundred vehicles,” so over a fifth of the first production run is already spoken for. 

The roof and hood of the car are covered with 16 square feet of solar panels under safety glass. Lightyear claims that the glass in the roof and hood is “so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them” without causing any damage. Someone will no doubt be willing to test that claim once these cars make it to production. 

But if someone did want to walk on the Lightyear One’s roof – or, you know, drive it – they’ll have to wait until 2021, as the company estimates that’s when the first deliveries will take place. 

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