Everything You Need to Know About the Debuting Lightyear 0

EV startup Lightyear revealed its first solar-powered electric vehicle, dubbed Lightyear 0, at an event this week in the Netherlands. The vehicle, which Lightyear describes as production-ready, has 388 miles of range, 44 miles of which are derived from solar power alone.


The Lightyear 0


The Lightyear 0 is the product of six years of research and development from its engineering team. That said, it doesn’t look too dissimilar from the sleek sedan prototype first revealed by the company in 2019. The specs are a little more down to earth: 388 miles versus the prototype’s 450 miles — but the overall shape and design of the vehicle appear mostly unchanged.

The inclusion of solar panels, which is rare in the automotive space, is what makes this vehicle stand out. The Lightyear 0 features five square meters (53.8 square feet) of “patented, double curve solar arrays,” allowing the vehicle to charge itself when it’s driving around or just sitting in the sun. Someone who has a daily commute of just under 35km (21 miles) could conceivably drive for months without having to plug the vehicle in for recharging.


Fast Charging Capabilities


Lightyear isn’t the only company staring at the sun for inspiration. Aptera — a California startup that crashed in the aftermath of the Great Recession — was recently resurrected and is still plugging away. German startup Sono Motors is also working on a solar-powered electric car. Mercedes-Benz’s Vision EQXX concept includes a solar roof array of 117 cells. And Toyota has promised an optional solar roof for its recently released BZ4X electric SUV.

The company was founded in 2016 by a team of engineers who had competed together in the World Solar Challenge, a race held every few years in the Australian outback that’s meant to advance the idea of solar-powered cars.

Lightyear says it will only make 946 units, with each selling for €250,000 (about $263,262 USD). That high asking price could also be a tough sell. For that money, you could probably buy a top-of-the-line electric car and install solar panels on your house and still have something remaining. Plus, the increased power output of your panels could mean your EV is technically more solar-powered overall.