Charging ahead: Lightyear One solar car has five square meters of solar panels

Lightyear One solar EV shakes up market with solar powered car.Lightyear tech company.

The Dutch-designed Lightyear One solar EV is challenging the electric vehicle market with five square metres of solar panels built into its roof and bonnet.

The innovative solar car self-charges as you drive, with enough enough solar panels to power around 20,000 km annually.

However, not everyone will be rushing out to buy one when production begins in 2021. The Lightyear One will retail at about $244,000, placing it in the “exclusive” market.

While not blessed with a lot of sun, the Netherlands has produced many of the winners of solar car races held over recent years.

Lightyear One solar EV shakes up electric car market

The Lightyear One really is ‘the one’, according to CEO and co-founder of Lightyear, Lex Hoefsloot.

The ground-breaking solar car also features:

  • Electric motors for each wheel to minimise energy loss.
  • A driving range of 725 kilometres under standard testing conditions.
  • Solar panels protected by safety glass that can take the weight of a person.
  • A long tail and partially covered wheel to reduce aerodynamic drag.

Hoefsloot told CarAdvice that lack of range and charging options are holding back EV growth. He also said his solar EV company will target autonomous and shared car fleets to help share the Lightyear One’s higher costs.

Home charging gives owners flexibility, saves money

More than a third of respondents in a Climate Council poll this year said they liked the convenience of charging an EV at home.

Lightyear One solar EV breaks new ground.

The Lightyear One breaks new ground with reinforced solar panels on its bonnet and roof. Image: Lightyear

This is because low EV running and maintenance cost is reduced still more by home charging with a solar power installation. Even better savings are possible if you store power in a home battery such as a Tesla Powerwall 2 or Enphase battery to use overnight.

Meanwhile, Tesla boss Elon Musk may also be working on new EV charging software. This is designed to help EV owners charge their cars at the cheapest rate according to their electricity plan.

Lightyear is light years away from basic EV models

The Lightyear One solar EV prototype was unveiled at a promotional event in the Netherlands this month.

Lightyear was founded in 2016 by members of the celebrated Solar Team Eindhoven. The team won the World Solar Challenge in 2013 and 2015. Some of its employees have also worked for Ferrari and Tesla.

The company also wants to reduce the 12 per cent of European carbon emissions caused by traditional fossil-fuelled cars.