The electric vehicle market is still just getting off the ground in many ways, but Dutch auto startup Lightyear is hoping that the world is ready for a four-wheel-drive luxury sedan which runs entirely on solar power.
Lightyear is just one of a number of companies now gunning to take the top spot in the electric vehicle market from Tesla, however, the company’s claims about their revolutionary new solar powered vehicle are quite bold, perhaps suspiciously so.
The Dutch startup revealed the concept for the Lightyear One just a few days ago, and claim that the battery can consistently replenish its power reservoir using only solar power and that it has a range of up to 800 km (about 500 miles) on a single charge. More astounding is the company’s claim that in the right conditions, such as the incredibly sunny Hawaii, the Lightyear One has the potential to drive four months at a time in between charges.
If the claims are true, they would no doubt have the potential to be a game changer for the electric vehicle industry as a whole, which would nullify concerns about electric cars being restricted to areas with charging networks. However, the veracity of these claims is not yet proven.
Despite the insistence that the Lightyear One can charge fully with only sunshine, the vehicle is also apparently equipped with a charging port so that it can charge from an outlet. Lightyear claims that the vehicle could be plugged into a standard 3.7 kW outlet for only an hour to give the vehicle a 40 km (25 miles) worthy charge. The company also claims that the solar power collected by the vehicle could be used to power devices around the home, even extending other electric vehicles.
At this moment in this not known how the startup will produce its groundbreaking new vehicles, as the FAQ section of their website only says that they are using a “fundamentally re-engineered” architecture and a “revolutionary production process.”
The company does seem to have some genuine experience and talent to backing it as it was created by five former members of Solar Team Eindhoven, the group responsible for the creation of the four-seat Stella solar-powered car.
Lightyear will not be producing the One on a massive scale, as they are aiming for only 10 to be made in 2019 with 100 more expected to arrive sometime in 2020. Preorders are currently available for the vehicle, but it will cost around $136,000 to do so.