Are solar cars on the horizon?

Are solar cars on the horizon?

A Dutch company is starting deliveries of the world’s first production-ready solar car to customers in late 2022. 

Blue View

The company, Lightyear, was founded in the Netherlands in 2016 and is making 949 of its Lightyear 0 model.  The design features curved solar panels across the car’s hood and roof which could help harness as much as 70km of driving range per day from the sun. 

Lightyear claims that the car, which will be made in Finland by Valmet Automotive, allows two months of driving without charging in Amsterdam during summer and as many as seven months in Portugal.  

The car’s “practical range” is stated at >1,000km of driving range between two “charging moments” based on a 50km workday commute in Amsterdam over the summer months.  The battery range is put at 625km (WLTP) from a 60kWh pack. 

If range anxiety doesn’t put some people off, the EUR250,000 price tag might, although the company plans to make a more affordable model at a starting price of EUR30,000 in due course with production set to start in late 2024 or early 2025.

Solar automotives have gained limited traction owing to costs, performance and the large surface area solar panels require.  Nonetheless, there have been various concept cars put forward over the years, including the Mercedes Benz Vision EQXX.  While solar cars are highly unlikely to gain market share over the medium- or even long-term, the incorporation of more solar technology into cars and wider automotive infrastructure is more viable.  Toyota, for example, has promised an optional solar roof for its BZ4X electric SUV.  Meanwhile solar charging stations for EVs are already in deployment. 

  • 14 Jun 2022
  • Lithium
  • Silicon

Like what you read? Subscribe now to get Project Blue's news analysis for free in your inbox every Monday.

Subscribe Now