Electric vehicles are definitely the future of the auto industry, but it can still be difficult to find charging stations in some areas. Sometimes, you just forget to charge your electric car, too. Lightyear feels the struggle and launched its first solar EV, the Lightyear 0, that’s built with five square meters of solar panels that allow for exceptionally long times in between charges.
Lightyear said its Lightyear 0, which was previously named the Lightyear One, can drive for months without charging. Based on average commute estimates of around 35 kilometers a day, or 21 miles, the Lightyear 0 can drive up to two months in cloudy climates without needing to charge. In sunnier locales, Lightyear said its solar EV can get up to seven months of driving before recharging.
Long-range — There’s still some final verification tests to be done, but so far, the Lightyear 0 has a range of 625 kilometers, or 388 miles, with its 60kWh battery. To stretch out that range a little more, it can use its solar panels while driving or parked outside, giving an extra 70 kilometers, or 43 miles, of solar charge per day. Lightyear said it can get a maximum of 11,000 kilometers of solar yield per year.
When you eventually do have to charge the Lightyear 0, you can use a regular home socket, which will charge it at 32 kilometers per hour. Public charging stations can charge the EV at 200 kilometers per hour, while fast charging stations offer 520 kilometers per hour. The solar charging is far more passive and only gives you 10 kilometers of charge per hour.
It’s painfully obvious that Lightyear focused on range and charging capabilities with the Lightyear 0 because the actual driving specs are pretty pedestrian. The Lightyear 0 has a rather sluggish 0 to 100km/h of 10 seconds and a top speed of 160km/h. It doesn’t feel like the Lightyear 0 will appeal to thrill seekers, but hey, you can’t argue against the environmental benefit.
You can see that eco-friendly nature throughout the interior, with its 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system and interior materials that are vegan and naturally-sourced materials. The outer body is also made of reclaimed carbon.
Limited release — Only 946 models of the Lightyear 0 will be made, which will cost €250,000 or roughly $260,000. Lightyear said it will be offering its first test drives in June, starting production in the fall, and delivering its first Lightyear 0s in November.
The Lightyear 0 is pretty restrictive in both supply and pricing, but the company is already working on an affordable solar EV called the Lightyear Two. This solar EV will be priced at €30,000, or about $31,000, and is set for production in late 2024 or early 2025.