The $260k solar-powered car that can go months without charging

Published on Jun 14, 2022 at 1:38 PM (UTC+4)
by Patrick Jackson

Last updated on Jul 01, 2022 at 5:05 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

The $260k solar-powered car that can go months without charging

Dutch EV startup Lightyear has revealed its first solar panel car which could last months without charging.

It’s a big move in an EV market dominated by Lithium-ion powered cars that need to be plugged into a power source to be charged.

In the summer, the Lightear 0 could go for multiple months without plugging it in to charge if just using the car as a daily commuter.

Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot at the launch of the Lightyear 0
The solar-powered Lightyear 0 EV
The solar-powered Lightyear 0 EV
The solar-powered Lightyear 0 EV
The solar-powered Lightyear 0 EV
The solar-powered Lightyear 0 EV
Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot at the launch of the Lightyear 0
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Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot at the launch of the Lightyear 0
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The Lightyear 0 will cost $260,000 and there will be 946 cars made.

What immediately strikes you is the black hood. That’s not carbon fiber – it’s solar panels.

The Lightyear 0 is fitted with 5m2 of solar panels on its hood and roof.

The aim of the car was to improve range by reducing weight.

Ironically, part of that means fitting fewer batteries – it only has a 60kWh battery – but that’s where the solar panels come in.

Giving it up to 70km (43mi) of extra charge per day, it increases the Lightyear 0’s range from 625km on a single plug-in charge to over 1000km (621mi).

So you could drive from the French capital of Paris to Madrid in Spain without topping up the batteries.

The company estimates that depending on the climate, you’ll get between 6000-11,000km (3728-6835mi) of additional range for free each year just from the solar panels.

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Also improving its range is the fact it has what the company claims is ‘record-breaking’ aerodynamics of just 0.19Cd (Cd means drag co-efficient).

For reference, a 2021 Tesla Model S has a Cd 0.208 and a Hummer has a Cd of 0.64.

The Lightyear 0 lives up to its name in weight too.

It’s incredibly light for an EV at 1575kg, with its bodywork made from recycled carbon fiber.

The interior also has vegan leather and fabrics made from recycled PET bottles.

First customer deliveries of the Lightyear 0 are slated for later in 2022.

Lightyear 0 specifications

  • Electric motors: 4 independently controlled in-wheel motors
  • Transmission: Single-speed, all-wheel drive
  • Power: Up to 130kW (170hp)
  • Torque: Up to 1720Nm (1269lb-ft)
  • 0-100km/h (0-62mph): 10 seconds
  • Top speed: 160km/h (99mph)

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Patrick Jackson

A car zealot from a young age, Patrick has put his childhood spent obsessing over motoring magazines and TV shows to good use over the past six years as a journalist. Fuelled by premium octane coffee, he’s contributed to Finder, DriveTribe, WhichCar, Vehicle History and Drive Section.