One of the major drawbacks in electric vehicles is the range consumers get with them. Many skeptics don’t want to constantly monitor how much battery they have left and get into a situation where they have to charge up their car but are unable to find a charging station. A new Dutch startup is hoping to bring peace of mind with an EV that can charge itself.
The Lightyear One is a new electric car that is run on solar power. It enhances the EV brand by having the ability to charge up without having to plug it in. The process either lets it store up energy in the battery or it can directly power the electric motors in the vehicle. If there’s more power coming in than what the motor needs, it will also recharge the battery while driving.
Another difference between this and traditional cars is the startup’s focus on using lower drag and creating the vehicle with lightweight materials. Lightyear Stella, a solar-powered family car, that uses significantly less energy than both the Volkswagen Golf and Tesla products. It has that ability due to its “very aerodynamic shape” and its weight of 390 kilograms (859 pounds).
All of this gives the Lightyear One a huge advantage -- more range. The company touts that it will be able to drive anywhere from 250 miles to 500 miles “depending on your battery configuration.” That’s an incredible feat that no other electric car has been able to accomplish. New models coming out this year are just getting above the 200-mile range.
Due to its long distance potential, Lightyear also equipped all-wheel drive. This promotes off-road driving and how much they’re betting on solar energy to create an adventurous experience. The company’s goal was to create a vehicle that requires extremely little charging in sunny climates. In place like Hawaii and Los Angeles, they believe these cars can travel over 12,000 miles annually with the sun’s rays alone.
In order to attract a bigger audience, or those that don’t see the sun as often, they still have a traditional plugin available for charging. However, the mission is to provide a solution for those that don’t live close to a charging station. There’s a number of rural areas in the United States alone that have barren land when it comes to EV generation. On the , the highlighted areas in orange are the only places that have charging stations every 60 miles.
More information on the Lightyear One will be revealed in 2018 with production expected soon afterwards. In the following year, these solar-powered EVs will be available in the United States and Europe with a price point beginning at 119,000 euros, or just above $136,000 US. Reservations are currently being taken for $21,735 US and can be customized.