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How Soon Could Solar-Powered Cars Be on the Road?

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

Electric cars are becoming an increasingly common sight on the road, but what about solar-powered cars? There has never been a commercially-produced solar-assisted car, until now.

Starting in November, 946 European customers will be able to get their hands on the first production run of the Lightyear 0. The Dutch company Lightyear has fitted curved solar panels onto their innovative vehicle's trunk, hood, and roof. Although the car is not fully solar-powered, these solar panels help to top up the electric battery, even when the vehicle is stationary.

Set for European production in November 2022, the Lightyear 0 has solar panels and an electric battery. With limited use, it can be driven for months without needing to be plugged in.
Set for European production in November 2022, the Lightyear 0 has solar panels and an electric battery. With limited use, it can be driven for months without needing to be plugged in.

The extra boost from the Sun's rays should provide an additional 44 miles (71 km) a day, on top of the Lightyear 0's range of 388 miles (626 km) on a full charge. If you're just using it for your daily commute of up to 22 miles, you should be able to rely on solar power for months without having to charge the battery. This could be seven months in sunny places like Spain and Portugal, or two months in the more cloudy Netherlands. You can also charge your EV at home with a solar power system. Find out how many solar panels you need to power your home and vehicle(s). 

The Lightyear 0 is lightweight and efficient, weighing 3,472 lbs (1,575 kg), but it's not particularly quick, with a maximum speed of 100 mph (161 km/h) and a 10-second acceleration from 0 to 100 mph.

The buzz about the Lightyear 0:

  • Even without the solar panels, the Lightyear 0 is an impressive electric vehicle, exceeding even the range of the Tesla Model 3 (374 miles or 602 km).

  • However, you'll have to pay a pretty penny to get behind the wheel of the Lightyear 0. The launch models will cost $262,000, although the company hopes to release a more affordable model for around $31,000 by 2025.

  • Other companies have their own solar-assisted vehicles – such as the Sono Sion and the Aptera Never Charge – in the works, but none are ready to hit the market yet.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for wiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for wiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education.

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anon1007390

Or you could walk and pay nothing.

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    • Set for European production in November 2022, the Lightyear 0 has solar panels and an electric battery. With limited use, it can be driven for months without needing to be plugged in.
      Set for European production in November 2022, the Lightyear 0 has solar panels and an electric battery. With limited use, it can be driven for months without needing to be plugged in.