One of the first questions asked by people looking at electric cars is why it doesn't have solar panels in the bodywork for charging all the time. It was announced on Tuesday, and unlike most of the EVs on sale today, the Lightyear One is going its own way.
The prototype auto is propelled by four independently driven wheels, which the firm says means no energy is lost in transit from the engine to the wheel.
The exact range and mileage derived from solar power will vary depending on numerous factors, such as climate and driving frequency, but the company estimates that someone driving the national average of 20,000 kilometers/year "in the cloudy Netherlands" would get around 40% of their mileage from solar annually.
Lightyear will be ramping up production of the Lightyear One in 2021. If you get the "Pioneer Edition" of the Lightyear One, you'll be expected to drop €119,000 ($135,500) for a reservation payment, which is a sizable chunk of the vehicle's full €149,000 ($169,658) price tag.
That's around $40,000 more than a top-end Tesla Model S. Whether the bump in sticker price is enough to justify the convenience of never having to plug in, never having to pay for power (you can do both in a pinch, the One does have a charging port), and the price of admission to an exclusive club is up to you.
Using a standard 230V outlet the Lightyear is able gain 400km of range overnight.
Able to go from 0-100km/h in 10 seconds, the Lightyear One is fitted with a solar roof and a battery system which enables 450 miles of range on a single charge Lightyear, which is based in Helmond, claims that the auto will be the world's first solar model with long-range capabilities.
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The Lightyear One is still at the prototype stage so the specs are subject to change.
Those panels add 12 kilometres of range for every hour the auto spends in the sun. Both the hood and the roof are covered with five square meters of solar cells beneath the glass keeping it more power efficient and lightweight.
"Mostly, the range will be between 310 and 497-miles".
Lightyear will be ramping up production of the Lightyear One in 2021.
The company also says the One's successors will be geared towards car-sharing, with high levels of autonomy and low operating costs, as it strives to create a product range that is fully sustainable. "Research has shown that range and lack of charging capability are still the biggest concerns with electric mobility".
"We made a decision to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something".
Hoefsloot said that future models will have a "significantly lower purchase price".