Lightyear Claims First Long-Distance Solar Car

Dutch solar car manufacturer Lightyear is claiming to have built the first long-range solar car.

Its prototype was presented to investors, customers, partners and press this week in Katwijk, the Netherlands. No specific technical details have yet been aired except the company’s assertion that, depending on climate, a suitable long-range solar car could provide up to 12,000 miles a year of motoring.

The Lightyear One prototype is a BEV that has been developed over the past two years and uses solar panels to charge itself whenever the sun shines. Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear, said: “Climate change is such a frightening development that it’s almost paralyzing. We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something. Lightyear One represents an opportunity to change mobility for the better.”

However, without announcing any retail costs of the new car, Hoefsloot admitted it will be priced at the very exclusive end of the market. He explained: “Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market. The next models we plan to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price. In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided among a large group of users. Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price per kilometer.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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