China's New Solar EVs Boast Up to 450 Miles of Range

The auto industry is starting to get serious about solar.
Chris Young
The EF1-VEdisonFuture

Chinese automaker EdisonFuture, a subsidiary of renewable energy firm SPI Energy, revealed the EF1-T, its first electric pickup with a retractable solar panel roof last month.

Now, the firm has shown off a solar-powered delivery van called the EF1-V, and also provided more information on its EF1-T pickup truck at the Los Angeles Auto Show, a report from InsideEVs reveals.

A 'modern multi-purpose van'

On its website, EdisonFuture describes the EF1-V as a "modern multi-purpose van for work, travel, family or personal use in varying road and environment conditions from city streets to off-road." The delivery van will be available in different cargo iterations, depending on the space required, ranging from 260 to 400 cubic feet (7.3–11.3 cubic meters) of cargo space. 

The EF1-V also comes with two powertrain options, the Standard single motor version, and the Long Range dual-motor version. EdisonFuture, however, has yet to reveal range specifications for the EF1-V. The delivery van also has the same towing capacity as EdisonFuture's EF1-T pickup truck, allowing it to tow between 7,500 lbs (3,402 kg) to 11,000 lbs (4,990 kg) depending on the version.

Solar panels vastly improve range over long periods

EdisonFuture has yet to announce pricing for the EF1-V and the EF1-T. However, the company has revealed more information about the latter. The electric solar pickup truck features a solar panel roof, with the option for extra retractable panels to cover the bed of the truck.

China's New Solar EVs Boast Up to 450 Miles of Range
The EF1-V will be available in two different versions. Source: EdisonFuture

The EF1-T will come in three different iterations — the Standard single motor, Premium dual motor, and Super tri-motor versions. The Standard will offer 300 miles (483 km) of range, the Premium 380 miles (611 km), and the Super 450 miles (724 km). However, EdisonFuture has remained tight-lipped on the battery capacity for both the EF1-T and the EF1-V. 

China's New Solar EVs Boast Up to 450 Miles of Range
The EF1-T has a retractable solar panel roof option. Source: EdisonFuture

Several companies are touting a future of solar electric vehicles (SEVs). Dutch automaker Lightyear, for example, says its first model, the solar-powered Lightyear One, can go for months without being plugged in when conditions are ideal. EV startup Fisker also finally revealed the production model of its Ocean SUV this week, stating that a solar roof option can add up to 2,000 miles of range per year. Even Tesla announced a solar panel roof option for the Cybertruck, a few months after it was first unveiled.

The extra freedom afforded by solar roof options may just be what the automotive industry needs to incentivize consumers to go electric, as countries continue to plan for a future without internal combustion engine cars. 

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