Lightyear Set to Be the First Solar-Powered Production Car

Lightyear Set to Be the First Solar-Powered Production Car

Car company Lightyear (no affiliation with Buzz) has spent the past six years working on its new car, called the “0” (zero). That may not sound terribly interesting, as carmakers come and go all the time, but what really stands out about the Lightyear 0 is it can be recharged with the sun. That’s right, the Dutch have made a solar-powered car.

According to our friend’s at CNet, Lightyear has been using its engineering from years of competing in the World Solar Challenge. The competition requires teams to produce a vehicle that can travel 3,018 km solely on solar power through Australia. Under the team name, Solar Team Eindhoven, the co-founders and engineers of Lightyear entered in 2013, winning first place in the Cruiser Class. That technology help launch the basis of what is now Lightyear.

With this car being the first to don solar-power charging capabilities in production form, the freedom of powering your car with the power of the sun will certainly cost you. Each 0 will cost a quarter million euros. That’s just under $US266,000 ($369,261) freedom dollars. Lightyear will also be producing just 946 units, so it’s not likely to change the automotive mainstream in any real way, but shit, it’s pretty cool.

“Today is the day we’ve all been waiting for since us five co-founders sat in a kitchen sketching out our dream of building the most sustainable car on the planet.” says Lightyear’s Co-Founder and CEO Lex Hoefsloot, “In 2016, we only had an idea; three years later, we had a prototype. Now, after six years of testing, iterating, (re)designing, and countless obstacles, Lightyear 0 is proof that the impossible is actually possible.”

The Lightyear 0 has a streamlined teardrop body shape made from carbon fibre that gives it a drag coefficient of just 0.19 (which is very good).

Lightyear Set to Be the First Solar-Powered Production CarPhoto: Lightyear

I’d describe what the car looks like, but you’ve got eyes, so you can take a look yourself. Happily, there are a bunch of colours you can choose from.

“BUT WHAT IS THE RANGE,” you yell at the computer. Friends, I’ll break it down. There are five square meters of double-curved solar arrays on the hood, roof and rear hatch that can charge the car whether it’s driving or parked. That alone provides the 0 with up to 44 miles of range in optimal conditions. That number is on top of the 624 km range you get when you plug the 0 into the socket.

Lightyear Set to Be the First Solar-Powered Production CarPhoto: Lightyear

In theory, if you have a short commute, you’ll never have to charge the car. In theory that is. Even Lightyear admits that under optimal conditions you’ll still need to charge the 0 every few months.

Worried about buying a car from a startup? Don’t be. The 0 comes with an 8-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Expect production to start this fall with first deliveries coming in November. And just like everything made overseas, the 0 will likely not make it to Australia.