Owners of the new Lightyear One solar car might not need to charge their vehicles for months. That’s because the new EV can charge via solar panels while driving for up to 70 kilometers of range gained per day by solar charging alone. An electric car that can charge on the go is the holy grail of EVs, and we’re happy to see the Lightyear One is finally here.
“Lightyear 0 reinvents the wheel when it comes to energy consumption, range capability and charging,” the company said. “It’s built like no other electric car… Our holistic design helps to get the most from every last joule of energy.”
These unique cars aren’t some future concept, you can order one now. The solar car has a range of options, including a rear wheel “aero cover” that adds up to 12 kilometers of range per battery charge through aerodynamic efficiency gains. The wheels are sleek, low-rolling resistance tires you used to see in early Toyota Priuses that help with efficiency as well. They’re best for smooth road driving, not back dirt roads, as the car sits low for aerodynamic gains.
Additionally, the Lightyear 0 is a four-door passenger car with a fastback hatch. It both maximizes space on the roof for horizontal solar panels and makes it a very practical car for most people to use. The Lightyear 0 tapers front and back for a sleek exterior design that is unique among passenger cars today. It gets 1,000 kilometers of driving range between charges. The battery range is 625 kilometers, highway range 560 kilometers, and has an annual solar yield of up to 11,000 kilometers of added range.
The car isn’t the fastest with a zero to 60 time of 10 seconds, but it still tops out with a max speed of 160 kilometer per hour, which is more than anyone needs on the road. For one hour of charging time, you can get 32 kilometers of range with a home normal outlet plug charging, 200 kilometers at a public charging station or 520 kilometers from a fast charger. We imagine like most EV owners, drivers of the Lightyear 0 will want to install a fast charger for convenience or charge at home at night to take advantage of off-peak hour electricity pricing.
The element that makes this innovative vehicle less than accessible is price: 255,000 Euros to start excluding VAT, so around $267,000 USD.
Images via Lightyear