Dutch startup Light Year recently unveiled a prototype for what they say is the first car capable of taking us long distances while powered only by the Sun.
The company's CEO, Lex Hoeflsloot, said their new prototype, the Light Year One, "represents a new era of driving," at the car's unveiling.
Getting the most out of every ray
In a press release, Light Year - a Dutch startup attempting to disrupt the relatively new electric car industry - detailed their Light Year One concept, which was unveiled in June.
The roof and hood of Light Year One are made up of five square meters of integrated solar cells. They are encased in safety glass, "so strong that a fully-grown adult can [safely] walk on them," the company says.
The car is constructed from light-weight high-tech materials, allowing it to use its power as efficiently as possible. This enables the car to “get the most out of every ray of sunshine,” the designers say.
This, the company says, will enable the car a range of 725 km (WLTP). According to Light Year, their car uses 83 Wh/km (WLTP) and accelerates from 0-100 in ten seconds.
Aside from its solar power recharging, the car can also be charged at charging stations and on regular outlets.
Only with sunlight, Light Year One can charge at 12 km/h. With 60 kW fast charging, the car's efficient charging allows it to charge up to 570 km/h.
Light Year also assures that the car still meets stringent safety regulations despite its light weight.
Leapfrogging the slow progress of EVs
At the car's unveiling, Hoefsloot said:
“This moment represents a new era of driving. This is a giant leap towards achieving our mission of making clean mobility available to everyone.”
“The main goal of the car is to fill in where electric cars fall short," he continued. "Research has shown that range and the lack of charging options are still the top concerns that people have when considering electric cars.”
The Dutch company hopes its solar car idea will help them "leapfrog" the slow-pace of electric vehicle infrastructure building.
Other car manufacturers, such as Hyundai and Toyota offer their own solar panel car roofs - though Hyundai's solar Sonata model is a hybrid car that relies more heavily on fuel.
Re-aligning technology and nature
Much like more traditional electric vehicles, Light Year's vehicle was made as a reaction to the effects internal combustion engines have on the climate.
Hoefsloot envisions a future where technology can exist within the laws of nature, without damaging it:
“For centuries, we have lived in balance with nature," he said. "With the technologies of today, we have the opportunity to do so again. By starting from scratch and using the laws of nature as a guideline, nature becomes our greatest ally in developing ultra-efficient designs.”
By building an electric car that doesn't need to rely on vast charging networks, he may just be onto something.
Lightyear will be releasing the Lightyear One in 2021. The first 100 cars have already been reserved.