Dutch startup Lightyear has some lofty goals which many hope they can achieve. The company aims to bring a commercial solar electric car to the market in 2019. The first design, the Lightyear One, is an electric four-wheel drive car that can handle rough terrain and has a battery range of 800 kilometers (500 miles), charged by the sun. Production of the car together with industry partners will start from 2019 onwards. Of this first version, a limited number of models will be produced and to date already 15 cars have been ordered.
“You can think of the Lightyear One as being as an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars.”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun”. At night or on a cloudy day the Lightyear One can drive up to 800 kilometers on a fully charged battery, depending on your battery configuration.
The company produced a video back in June going over their vision, but don’t expect to see the actual car in the video. The images on their website could also be renders and not the actual vehicle.
“The Lightyear One is a statement to show that electric cars are ready for every corner of the planet”, Hoefsloot clarifies. “It is the first step in our mission to make electric cars available for everyone”. Since the car is much less dependent on charging points, it is especially well suited for areas where the adoption of electric cars is held back by the lack of charging points. The attractively shaped four-wheel drive sedan will even handle rough terrain, so you can take it almost anywhere.
According to the company, the integrated solar cells on the roof of the car will generate enough power to recharge the battery during the day and will render charging virtually unnecessary. In sunny climates, like most parts of the US and the south of Europe, the car can drive for months without charging. For very long trips an overnight-charge using an ordinary power socket will suffice – no need for electric car charging infrastructure.
Lightyear is taking preorders for their first cars which will be made in limited numbers. The car is expected to be unveiled sometime in 2018 and delivered to customers in 2019 in the EU.
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