Going electric is only half way towards a sustainable transportation. The electricity that we use to charge EVs are most likely not generated using clean means. Besides not actually being clean energy, there’s the range that gives drivers the anxiety because, with EV, when the battery is out, it is out. You can’t pull out a gas can from the trunk and top it up.
The Lightyear One you see here addresses both issues. This Dutch innovative electric vehicle stakes claim as the most sustainable EV in the market with an exceptional range of up to 800 kilometers (497 miles) and it is able to do so thanks to the the 5 square meters (54 square feet) of solar panel covering its hood and roof (which also explains the intriguing, longish form of the vehicle).
The solar panel, which is covered in safety glasses strong enough to withstand a person standing on it, adds 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) every hour when exposure to daylight as you drive to afford this incredible range.
And when it is time to charge, Lightyear One promised up to 570 kilometers (354 miles) worth of energy in an hour with fast charging, or up to 350 km (217 mi) worth of energy when charging overnight via regular 230V outlet. Part of its range performance is also due to its unique four in-wheel motors that drives each wheel independently and directly, resulting in no lost in energy.
Other details include advanced torque vectoring, 0-100 (0-62 mph) in 10 seconds, up to 1,701L (60 cubic feet) cargo space, five-seater configuration, OTA software updates, companion app, wireless key, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
We are not sure if the Lightyear One is solar car first, or an EV first, but whatever it is, Lightyear One just showed the world that solar might just hold the key to the future of EVs as far as range anxiety and true sustainable transportation are concerned.
Lightyear is not alone. Hyundai Motor Group also sees solar as the supplemental power for hybrids and EVs. The automaker will be debuting hybrids and EVs with solar charging roof after 2019.
While exciting to hear, Lightyear One does not come cheap. It starts at €149,000 (roughly US$169,000). Reservation for Lightyear One is open now, but be warned that you not only have to content with the high price, but it will be quite a wait before you can get behind the wheel of one. Expected delivery won’t happen until early 2021.