Remember those Dutch solar cars that won the World Solar Challenge car race? The range of those cars powered by the sun was excellent. However, the vehicles themselves were not up to snuff in the design department. In comes Lightyear, a self-charging electric solar car with a sexy design, and recently awarded with the renowned CES Climate Change Innovator Award.
The Netherlands-based startup company Lightyear was found by members who were part of the Stella solar car team that won the World Solar Challenge race. The Lightyear One car was recently awarded with the Climate Change Innovator Award. This prize is presented to startups whose product or technology demonstrated the ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions if widely implemented. The award is issued by the Consumer Electronic Show (CES).
The Lightyear One electric car recharges with sunlight through solar cells on its roof. The vehicle can drive for months without a recharge depending on the amount of sunrays it catches. At night or on cloudy days, the vehicle can have a range of up to 800km (497mi) on a fully charged battery. The car depends less on charging points making it suitable for areas where there is no such infrastructure available.
“You can think of the Lightyear One as being an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars. It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun”, says Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot.
If you add up the travel distance of all fossil fueled cars in the world, you would end up with 9,500,000,000,000km (5,878,625,000,000mi) or 1 light year – hence the company’s name. The Dutch company ultimately wants to replace 1 fossil fueled lightyear with 1 solar powered light year by 2035. If all US passenger cars – roughly 253 million – were replaced with a Lightyear vehicle, up to 1,175 metric tons of CO2 could be saved per year. Imagine how many tons of CO2 can be saved if everyone in the world would be driving a Lightyear One.
“The Lightyear One is a statement to show that electric cars are ready for every corner of the planet. It is the first step in our mission to make electric cars available for everyone”, Hoefsloot explains.
It is ironic that the company that develops this solar car is from the Netherlands, a country with a limited number of sunny days.
The Lightyear One will be available from 2019. However, you can already reserve one right now.