Solar Pioneer’s More Accessible Car
We’ve reported here on GreenCars about the Lightyear 0, a remarkable solar-powered electric car that could go months without needing a charge depending on how much you drive it. It’s an amazing technical achievement, but is also being built in very limited numbers at a very high price point. Now, the Dutch company behind the Lightyear 0 has opened the waiting list for its second model, the Lightyear 2, with an estimated price point below 40,000 Euros.
Like the ultra-light, ultra-aerodynamic Lightyear 0, the Lightyear 2 gets a lot of its power from the sun, with solar panels on its roof and other surfaces that allow the vehicle to charge while driving. Under optimal conditions, the solar panels could potentially add dozens of miles a day of charge, enough to maintain the battery’s charge level for daily commuting without having to plug in.
Of course, not all conditions are “ideal,” and parking indoors or bad weather will reduce the Lightyear 2’s solar charging capacity. Unlike the Lightyear 0, which the company says can scavenge 6,800 miles of range year, the company isn’t making claims yet for the Lightyear 2. Sunny parts of the U.S. might yield far more solar-powered range, further reducing the need to plug in.
500 Miles of Range
Lightyear claims that the Lightyear 2 is so efficient that drivers will halve their lifetime CO2 emissions compared to conventional EV drivers, who won’t be able to charge their cars using the sun. (Of course, all electric cars produce zero CO2 when driving, but production of electricity still creates CO2, depending on how it’s made.) The company claims over 500 miles of real-world driving range for the Lightyear 2, though no EPA estimates are available yet.
Solar charging, along with the Lightyear 2’s ultra-efficient aerodynamics, should help reduce buyers’ reticence to switch to electric. Many car buyers who have considered electric still haven’t adopted the technology due to anxiety around driving range, lack of home charging, and sparse public charging networks. The 2’s optimal aero allows a smaller battery size, lighter weight, and improved overall efficiency, whose range is further boosted by solar charging.
Indeed, in some situations, the Lightyear 2 not only will draw less charge from the electricity grid than a conventional EV – but will actually be able to provide clean, solar-generated energy back to the grid.
Delivery in 2025
Lightyear has begun taking orders for the Lightyear 2 on its website, and claims it has already collected over 20,000 pre-orders for the model from around the world. The U.S. will be one of the first regions to get the new model, alongside the UK and continental Europe. Production of the Lightyear 2 will begin in late 2025.