S. Himmelstein | July 11, 2022

After six years of development, Netherlands-based electric vehicle (EV) startup Lightyear has unveiled its first production-ready solar-powered car.

The 5 m2 of curved solar panels integrated into the roof, hood and tailgate of the Lightyear 0 will convert solar into electric power for driving. The vehicle is powered by both traditional electric charging and solar power, enabling users to drive while simultaneously charging from sunlight.

The inclusion of solar cells is expected to add up to 44 miles per day to the car’s 388-mile range from traditional charging. In sunny climates such as Spain or Portugal, an average driver covering 22 miles per day could use the car for seven months without the need for charging at a public or household outlet; usage is estimated at two months in colder climates such as the Netherlands. When plugged into a regular household power socket, drivers can charge over 185 miles of range overnight.

Solar cells add up to 44 miles per day to the car's range. Source: LightyearSolar cells add up to 44 miles per day to the car’s range. Source: Lightyear

Measuring 16 ft long and weighing 3,472 lb, the sedan has a top speed of 99 miles per hour and can accommodate five passengers. The body is assembled with panels of reclaimed carbon fiber and aluminum.

The company plans to start a limited production run of 946 cars in November 2022. The purchase price of $263,000 is expected to decline significantly with the availability of a more affordable, mass-market car by 2025.