The Lightyear One has arrived to make your Tesla look like a dinosaur juice-sipping antique.
What if there was a car that didn’t need gas, hydrogen, or even an electrical outlet to get around? What if that car could take its energy from the sun itself?
That’s the dream of Lightyear, a new electric vehicle startup based in the Netherlands. They just started taking pre-orders for their first vehicle, the Lightyear One, whose claim to fame is being a solar power car.
According to Lightyear, the roof and hood of the Lightyear One are covered in 5 square meters (54 square feet) of solar panels. Those panels are contained “within safety glass so strong that a fully grown adult can walk on them without causing dents," and are 20% more efficient than “traditional solar panels,” whatever those might be.
Those solar panels charge a battery capable of delivering 725 km (450 miles) of range. It still plugs in like a conventional electric car and can charge at a rate of 570 km (354 miles) per hour from a 60kW fast charger. A regular home outlet will charge 217 miles overnight.
As for those solar panels, they provide up to 12 km (7.45 miles) per hour when in direct sunlight. The key words here are “up to” and “direct sunlight,” as all solar panels rarely ever provide their maximum power output due to the fact the sun is rarely directly overhead and beaming down unimpeded.
Jalopnik did the math, and it would take 60 hours of direct sunlight to charge the car’s batteries. Even being generous and giving the Lightyear One 12 hours per day of sunlight (which would never happen), that’s 5 days to charge the battery just from leaving the car outside.
Lightyear says that 40% of the car’s energy requirements can be obtained from the sun, which seems like a dubious claim at best.
The rest of the car’s stats are so far unknown. Lightyear says it can go from zero to 62 mph in around 10 seconds, which puts the Lightyear One at about the same performance as an economical midsize sedan. All-wheel-drive and torque vectoring are both standard.
According to Engadget, each Lightyear One costs $135,000, with deliveries beginning in 2021.