Ever since electric cars had became a thing, I’ve been asking the question “why are there no solar panels on them?”. The obvious answer is weight, but surely there’s some solution?
Well, thanks to the Dutch electric car manufacturer, Lightyear– there’s now a solution.
Officially announced this week, the Lightyear One is a semi-solar powered car which is capable of ranges up to 725 km (450 miles).
Lightyear guarantee at least 250 miles in winter, at highway speeds and with heating on.
How does the Lightyear One work?
Like all electric vehicles, there is a battery on board which can be charged by being plugged into an EV charger. On the Lightyear One however, there are also a combined 5 square metres of solar cells on the roof and bonnet.
The cells are underneath strong safety glass which Lightyear says is so strong that “a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents.”
Lightyear say that the solar cells and glass are incredibly lightweight, making it capable of achieving serious mileage for an EV.
On a normal charge the car can travel 250 miles without the solar cells, but with the cells turned on the car can receive an additional charge of up to 7.5 miles per hour.
The Lightyear website allows you to get an estimate of how many miles you could gain based on where you are in the world. If I put in Bury St Edmunds (where we are headquarted), then the Lightyear one would provide us with a 35 mile range each day purely from solar power.
The car isn’t exceptionally fast when compared with other EV’s, doing 0-60 in around 10 seconds. However, that’s still an impressive speed when you consider the size of the car.
How much does the Lightyear One cost?
Coming in at £106,000 – the car isn’t exactly affordable for most. However, Lightyear is a new company that has only been around since 2016, so whilst the car is out of reach for the majority of the population, as the years go on – this technology will become more affordable.