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Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range

Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range thumbnail

A Dutch startup is planning to bring a completely solar-powered electric car to market, which could theoretically let some drivers go for months without plugging it in.

The ne plus ultra of electric cars might be in the works, thanks to a team of alumni from Solar Team Eindhoven, which has been developing prototypes of 4-seater solar family cars for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge since 2012. The startup Lightyear promises to combine onboard solar cells with an efficient battery pack and an optimized design to deliver a road legal 4-seat electric car that can charge itself from sunlight. We’ve heard claims like this before, but have yet to see one of these electric unicorns fully come to life, other than as entries into events such as the World Solar Challenge.

According to the company, its Lightyear One model will not only be capable of driving between 400 and 800 kilometers (~248 to 497 miles) per charge, but also “In sunny conditions it can drive for months without charging.” Those are both bold claims, and ones that are difficult to prove or disprove without real-world public testing, but if the team can indeed pull off this feat, the future of electric driving looks to be quite sunny.

The company makes the case that electric cars have “a scaling problem,” as only a small percentage (3%) of the world’s population has easy access to a public charging spot nearby them, and “is therefore dependent on third parties to build the infrastructure for them to be able to use an electric car.” Lightyear’s solution is to build an electric vehicle that “works anywhere.”

“Lightyear’s solution is straightforward. What if cars can be charged by what is already available almost everywhere in the world? Regular, household powerplugs and the sun. Even in countries like India, over 80% of the people already have access to both these.” – Lightyear

“Why is this mission so important? Solar powered cars solve the difficult chicken and egg problem that electric cars face before being introduced into a country. Since a solar powered vehicle does not need a charging infrastructure, it will make the concept of electric cars extremely scalable.” – Lightyear

As far as the specs and details of the Lightyear One go, the facts are still rather scarce, but the company states that the vehicle can be charged in four different ways — solar, a standard household outlet, a standard EV charger, or an EV fast charger. According to the FAQ, one hour’s worth of charging on a residential outlet (3.7 kW) will net the driver about 40 kilometers of range, or 100 km on a standard 10 kW EV charger, or up to 850 km on a 75 kW fast charger. In addition, the car could be used as a power source for a home or other application, with the solar cells and battery functioning as a micro solar plant.

“You can think of the Lightyear One as being as an electric car redesigned from the ground up to combine the best of solar cars and electric cars. It’s a revolutionary step forward in electric mobility because we are able to combine a great look with extreme efficiency. This first model makes science fiction become reality: cars powered using just the sun.” – Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear

The vehicle, at least at this point, will not be a mass production car, and will have a limited run of just 10 cars in 2019, and 100 cars in 2020. The price has been set at €119.000 (~$135,000 US), and units can be reserved with a refundable deposit of €19.000. That’s not exactly chump change, considering that many of the model options from the current electric car gorilla Tesla can be purchased for about half that amount, but then again, the four-wheel-drive Lightyear One aims to be a completely different kind of machine — one that can charge itself via integrated solar cells. Assuming a buyer lives in a sunny region, and that the car can indeed deliver about 500 miles per charge, this solar EV may very well enable a whole new kind of driving experience, by allowing the charging cord to be ‘cut’.


37 Comments on "Lightyear One solar car charges itself and will have a 500-mile range"

  1. ALCIADA-MOLE on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 7:54 am 

    maybe incorporate a power sharing protocol that lets driver trade surplus juice using some tech such as flow battery

  2. q on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 7:55 am 

    Also a perpetual motion machine is not far away from one of these startups.

  3. ALCIADA-MOLE on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 8:00 am 

    if transportation is solved then it fits into my idea of transforming ag. into manufacturing. ag. is subjected to nature’s infinite complexity while manufacturing has well defined parameters.

    for example, instead of growing and harvesting feed, one could just transport livestock to the area to let them feed.

    I admit the example is not all clear but I assert that we’re already there when it comes to manufacturing food. One can’t completely eliminate ag. yet because it’s still a fundamental process of manufacturin protein and sugar using sunlight and water with some trace minerals that we/animals need

  4. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 8:03 am 

    Absolutely no unicorn:

    Remember that a car can charge all day where in many European countries like the Netherlands the average yearly distance bridged is merely ca. 12,000 km or 34 km commuting distance.

    In sunny countries like Australia these kind of cars can indeed drive 800 km/day on a fully charged battery plus continuous support from the sun:

  5. ALCIADA-MOLE on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 8:21 am 

    Techno fix may work or may not. I’m not much a doomer now that I think we need a good killing.

    I’m tired of coming up with fixes and more energy to keep it going. This makes is stupid and fearful.

    There’s another way to have more and that’s taking it from the toxic males.

    I’m honest about growing the economy in some tangible way and empower women. I’m not an infinite resources guy but I don’t believe in the end of the world.

    If I fall into that trap then I’ll be a victim of eugentic advocates, nationalism, racism, discrimination. I have my limit very high and that’s 420 billion people under ideal conditions.

    I’d rather use people of different backgrounds to fight a monolithic entity. This is why I believe in America. I believe we can wait it out and clean up the mess. this way we take Siberia and emerge as world leader again.

  6. ALCIADA-MOLE on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 8:32 am 

    everytime i see my female cop, i’m all like yes maam, no maam and i told her outright that i was a recovering Paultard and I have nothing against police. Considering the problems I have with bums, druggies, and alcoholics I realize taht I appreiate the being out there for me.

    When I go to court I address my female judge as “your honor” and I do give them the respect. I see a female clerk and my mediator is a woman.

    My town clerk (non jewish old lady) oppresses me but President Trump is not going to do anything about it. I cheerfully pay my taxes so I can go my merry way and try to keep my cheerful demeanor.

    We can import foreign female fighters. This time it won’t have negative connotation to it. My father and many others told me if you want to get ahead, one way is to move. These poor women can move and I meet many women from rural America attending college with me and stick with the city. They were from Apalachia and President Trump is not going to do much to help. They have the burden of being America’s fighting forces.

    We’ll give them help with importing foreign fighters.

  7. Sissyfuss on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 9:27 am 

    10 cars will be available in 2019 at a price of $135,000. Oh yeah, that’s a game changer.

  8. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 9:33 am 

    French government demands end of sales of fossil fuel cars by 2040:

    Not very ambitious. Norway will do that by 2025.

    10 cars will be available in 2019 at a price of $135,000. Oh yeah, that’s a game changer.

    These are prototypes produced by students on a shoe-string budget of a few million. What did you expect? Your attitude is pathetic.

  9. ALCIADA-MOLE on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 9:43 am

    According to one estimate 20,000 women were part of the Continental Army which fought against the British between 1775 and 1783.

    The toxic males can’t imagine this so let’s hope they get lead poisoning by women.

  10. baha on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 11:17 am 

    This is just the first step…

  11. Sissyfuss on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 11:25 am 

    Pathetically realistic, Cloghopium. We don’t have the luxury to wait for vehicles that are truly green. The wolf is already at the door, especially your Euro door that is being blasted open by Frau Merkle and her marauding masses. Try selling them a wind turbine, they’ll try to drive it into a crowd with the blades set on emulsify.

  12. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 11:42 am 

    Pathetically realistic, Cloghopium. We don’t have the luxury to wait for vehicles that are truly green.

    You pretend to have intimate knowledge about a “timeline of doom”.

    The truth is you don’t.

    Regarding these cars: wind energy is currently a multi=billion dollar and multi-GW business. It started very small in 1978 with mostly Danish initiative to develop wind turbines with modern day technology. That’s 40 years in between.

    E-vehicle’s won’t take that long. Every car manufacturer is already deep into producing e-vehicles. The only innovation these students did was gluing solar cells to the roof of the car and connect them to the batteries. Big deal. Big car companies can pick that up in no time. The value of the work of the students is showing to a large number of people that it works. After that big money needs to take over.

    The wolf is already at the door, especially your Euro door that is being blasted open by Frau Merkle and her marauding masses.

    Our demographics are still far better than yours. And the Mediterranean is a lot wider than the Rio Grande. There is a lot of resistance against the influx and there are signs that authorities are taking measures to stop it. They already effectively sealed off influx from Turkey by buying them off. They can do that with Libya as well. Even globalist Bill Gates says that Europe must stop this madness.

  13. Ghung on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 12:12 pm 

    Gosh, Cloggo, show us the math. At best, I see this vehicle’s solar system producing about 2.2 kWh of useful electricity per day, and that is stretching the limits of today’s PV efficiency, assuming perfect solar conditions for around 5 hours per day, and finding enough area on the car for 3 sq. meters of well-oriented PV.

  14. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 12:39 pm 

    show us the math. At best, I see this vehicle’s solar system producing about 2.2 kWh of useful electricity per day


    Weight car: 375 kg
    Battery 15 kWh
    Max range: 1500 km

    The crucial figure:

    At 72 kmh the car has a break even: sun rays alone propel the car.

    Mind you: these figures apply to long, flat lonely roads without traffic jams or traffic lights (Outback Australia).

    Acceleration sucks. The car is very low and has a “hole” in the middle. It’s no doubt game over with strong head winds.

    But nobody drives 1500 km in a day, but on average 34 km.

    A normal “heavy” e-vehicle like the Renault Zoe offer 75 Outback km on 10 kWh. The car weighs 1500 kg, or 4 times that of the Stella.

    Don’t know where you get this 2.2 kWh.

    My (Dutch) 6 panel = 10 m2 system produces 11 kWh in the Summer or 1 kWh/m2. Stella surface: 452 cm x 172 cm = 7.7 m2. That would be 8 kWh per day, if the car would be tilted towards the sun … although it can be done by driving on two

    And these are Dutch kWh’s. In Australia expect a few kWh more.

    So for sunny climate’s like Africa, Australia, New Mexico, etc., it is very well possible to drive autonomous on flat roads, without wind… and without battery, provided the car is very light, very low and you drive with relaxed moderate speeds.

  15. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 12:45 pm 

    Again this is the 2013 car (Stella) we are talking about:

    And this the 2015 car (Stella Lux):

    And this the 2017 car (Stella Vie):

  16. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 1:07 pm 

    Sissy, LMAO – “Try selling them a wind turbine, they’ll try to drive it into a crowd with the blades set on emulsify.”

  17. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 1:24 pm 

    The deity speaks….

    Elon Musk: The world’s population is accelerating toward collapse and nobody cares

    -Musk tweeted Thursday to his nearly 10 million followers: “The world’s population is accelerating towards collapse, but few seem to notice or care.”

    -He was replying to a New Scientist article titled, “The world in 2076: The population bomb has imploded.”

    Study: Tesla car battery production releases as much CO2 as 8 years of driving on petrol

    “IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency investigated litiumjonbatteriers climate impact from a life cycle perspective. There are batteries designed for electric vehicles included in the study. The two authors Lisbeth Dahllöf and Mia Romare has done a meta-study that is reviewed and compiled existing studies.

    The report shows that the battery manufacturing leads to high emissions. For every kilowatt hour of storage capacity in the battery generated emissions of 150 to 200 kilos of carbon dioxide already in the factory. The researchers did not study individual bilmärkens batteries, how these produced or the electricity mix they use. But if we understand the great importance of play battery take an example: Two common electric cars on the market, the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, the batteries about 30 kWh and 100 kWh.”

    2040, 2067, 2100 projections are just another form of escapism for the humans who can’t deal with their current predicaments. Everything will be better in the future cause “they’ll think of something”.

  18. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 1:29 pm 

    Hurray for the green Cancer.

    New Study Shows Gas Engines Even Dirtier, EVs Now Even Cleaner

    “The researchers studied the emissions of 7 gas vehicles equipped with direct fuel-injection systems, and found that they emit from 10 to 100 times more particulates than modern diesel engines – more, in fact, than older diesel engines without particulate filters.

    “Once inhaled, these particles remain in the body forever,” explains project leader Norbert Heeb. Evidence shows that they can penetrate the membrane of the air sacs in the lungs and get into the bloodstream. And it gets worse: “Liquid or solid chemical toxins from the combustion process… accumulate on the surface of the particles, which can then smuggle these substances into the bloodstream – like a Trojan horse.”

  19. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 3:07 pm 

    New Study Shows Gas Engines Even Dirtier, EVs Now Even Cleaner

    Well, that’s settled then, e-vehicles it will be.

    Meet the 4 countries trying to ban gasoline cars.

    Norbert Heeb

    Family, apneaman?

  20. Ghung on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 3:41 pm 

    Cloggoid said “Don’t know where you get this 2.2 kWh…”

    Average daily solar insolation (irradiance) for Amsterdam is 2.67 kWh/m2/day

    x 3 m2 = 8.01

    x .20 (my generous current PV max efficiency limit)

    = 1.602 kWh per day.

    You should have taken my more generous back-of-envelope estimate Cloggie. But I know that your delusions prevent you from acknowledging mathematical reality. You will certainly not admit that I have far more real-world experience with PV than most folks here; especially you.

  21. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 3:55 pm 

    3 m2? I showed you it was 7.7 m2.

    Generous? 20%? How about 39% for multijunction cells?

    In my post I was talking about sunny areas like Africa, Australia and New Mexico.

    Now you bring up cloudy Amsterdam. Fine.

    2.67 kWh/m2/day

    x 7.7 = 20.6 kwh
    39% –> 8.0 kWh.

    Even the 1500 kg Renault Zoe calculates 75 km for 10 kwh.

    This Stella is 4 times lighter. Say 100 km on 8kWh?

    Average Dutch daily distance driven: 34 km.

    In other words, even in grey Dutch circumstances it is possible to drive an autonomous car. And if you drive to family in the weekend living further away at night, you can always charge the battery a little extra from the grid.

  22. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:01 pm 

    Stella Lux driving around in my rainy home town Eindhoven:

  23. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:04 pm 


    Here’s what PhD conservation biologist Guy McPherson says will happen by 2025.

    “I’m often accused of downplaying the horrors associated with the breakdown of this set of living arrangements. In a similar vein, I’m accused of failing to provide the mechanism by which 7.5 billion people will soon die. I’m here to set both records straight. I still don’t know when you will die, or how. And I do not desire the outcome I foresee.

    First of all, apparently I need to point out the ongoing horrors of industrial civilization, the most violent set of living arrangements ever devised. Many are tortured and killed so that a few, privileged people can retain their privilege. If you’re among the families of the millions who die every year as a result of anthropogenic climate change, I need not convince you. If you’re among the families of the millions who die every year at the hand of the United States military, I need not convince you. Many already live, and die, at the receiving end of oppression.

    What does the future hold? There’s little doubt Cormac McCarthy’s 2006 book, The Road, was optimistic. That book included survivors. This one doesn’t.

    Civilization will collapse catastrophically, for any number of reasons. Climate change likely will be a primary driver. When industrial civilization reaches its overdue end, there will be no fuel at the filling stations, no food at the grocery stores, and no water coming out the municipal taps. Unpaid first responders will return home to care for their families. The world’s abandoned nuclear facilities will melt down catastrophically.

    Leading causes of human mortality will include dehydration as the water stops flowing through the taps, starvation due to lack of food delivery, disease as prevention and treatment facilities are shuttered, suicide as horror-film fantasy becomes reality, and predation leading to cannibalism. I’ve no doubt desperate people accustomed to enormous privilege will resort to desperate measures to stay alive.

    The initial shock will be horrific. The expectation of systems being restored will give way to resignation only one dying person at a time. Desperate pleas for help will be met with silence.

    And then it’ll all get worse.

    The dead will be envied by the living even as the evolutionarily motivated will to live persists. The survivors will see a world virtually lacking life. Non-human animals will be unable to keep up with rapidly disintegrating ecosystems. There will be no food, no habitat. Plants cannot move and cannot be moved because the fragile web of mychorizae, fungi, and other place-based organisms will die in soils abruptly too dry, too wet, too hot, and too cold.

    Earth will increasingly resemble Mars. The last humans will die miserably in their bunkers, thirsty, hungry, lonely except for like-minded sociopaths, and marinating in ionizing radiation. The year: 2025.”

    I think he’s wrong……..with the date. 2050-2100 and the getting there will be just so much fun. By 2025 there won’t be a doubter on the planet.

  24. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:07 pm

    It has been calculated that under Dutch circumstances and weather and a daily average distance of 37 km, the car generates two times more energy than it consumes year-to-year.

    Only in the darkest months you need a little help from the grid.

  25. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:10 pm 

    The Stella has a “regenerative break”, which means that kinetic energy is converted into chemical energy during breaking. That’s the beauty of battery + electric motor: no need for a flying wheel to conserve energy.

  26. John Norris on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:14 pm 

    Cloggie, like your posts. FYI, “break” = to destroy, “brake” = to slow down. Even native English speakers get this wrong…

  27. Davy on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:16 pm 

    I think 2025 is too soon but the reality is anytime we could see catostrophic breakdown. If humans can keep from killing themselves in war the status quo could unravel over decades but unravel it likely will.

  28. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:27 pm 

    Cloggie, like your posts. FYI, “break” = to destroy, “brake” = to slow down. Even native English speakers get this wrong…

    I have long ago seized to try to write perfect English 😉


  29. onlooker on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:40 pm 

    I see no logical flaw in Guy’s descriptive analysis. And I take his word for it because he is a Biologist , yes those who have expert knowledge of the capacities and limits of adaptability of living organisms. Remember the higher up in the food chain and the bigger type of animal you are, the lesser the chance of your survival. And we now know climate change is kicking into overdrive on an already degraded and fragile planetary Ecosystem. When? Definitely within this century

  30. Cloggie on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:46 pm 

    For Ghung-skeptic:

    This new car has less solar cells (5 m2), but nevertheless:

    According to the team, a new 5 m2 (53.8 ft2)solar array allows the car to cover around 1,000 km (621 mi) using the energy generated on an average summer day in Holland.

    One would reckon that on a winter day 37 km would be doable, no?

  31. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:49 pm 

    Clog, there is no such thing as perfect English. It’s a restless language and changes constantly. According to many linguists, Frisian, as it’s spoken today, is similar to English from 1000 years ago.

  32. tita on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 4:51 pm 

    So… Why put solar panels on a car, which may not be ideally tilted towards the sun, may be under some shadow most of the time when parked or driving, add cost to a car that could be saved just by charging the car on a better suited solar installation.

    The solar challenge is quite a nice event. But the idea of a solar car is only possible if the solar panels get cheap enough.

  33. Makati1 on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 6:23 pm 

    I agree with Guy’s analysis. We seem to have hit the hockey stick part of the climate change chart. Have we hit the steepest part yet or is that in the near future? By that, I mean, have we hit the point where a chain reaction has been set off (methane bubbles?) that cannot be stopped or slowed down. It seems so.

    I know that my part of the world is going to feel the effects eventually, but with the Pacific all around, it will be a slower increase with the wide ocean moderating the air temperatures and with more typhoons heading north of the Ps, as seems to be happening even now. I will not see 2050, (I would be 106) so it is academic. All I can do is help my friends here to adapt and prep and watch the human extinction unfold. Not the way I ever thought I would spend my last years, but not my choice. Pass the dried mango…

  34. Anonymouse on Thu, 6th Jul 2017 6:48 pm 

    When they announce a flying, self-driving version of these electric dutch vaporyears, then I might get me one,or two even. While one is flying me to wall-mart, I can have the other one charging up and always ready to roll, I mean fly. You have be a forward stinker, I mean thinker, just like clog-fraud is.

  35. deadlykillerbeaz on Fri, 7th Jul 2017 2:21 am 

    Build 10,000 self-driving Solar One cars, line them up 10,000 long along the Autobahn, you could have a solar park generating power and be on the move.

    You could even beam the power to the Space Station.

    Beam me up, Scotty.

    Actually, it is a good idea, can it work efficiently is the question.

    It probably can.

  36. Cloggie on Fri, 7th Jul 2017 2:45 am 

    So anonymouse, stinking sneering diesel trucker, when did your kind invent anything, ever? Enjoy your final years in a world where you don’t belong.

  37. Anonymouse on Fri, 7th Jul 2017 9:22 pm 

    Did you manage to get through to them and find out when the self-flying solar powered model will be available clog-fraud?

    Ask if it will fly ya to the moon as well. Might cost you a few shekels extra, but Im sure wont that be a problem, being the well heeled shill that you are.

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