Clean mobility company Lightyear has introduced what it’s calling the world’s first long-range solar car.
The prototype was presented to investors, customers, partners and press at an unveiling in Katwijk, the Netherlands.
“This moment represents a new era of driving,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear.
The company was founded in 2016 by alumni of Solar Team Eindhoven, which won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge. Since its launch, Lightyear has received awards, grants and support from key investors that allowed it to develop a prototype for the first long-range solar car in just two years, according to a press release.
Named Lightyear One, the vehicle has been engineered to optimize efficiency and safety, according to the company, with a longer-range battery that charges whenever it’s in the sun.
“Climate change is such a frightening development that it’s almost paralyzing,” Hoefsloot said. “We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something.”
High unit costs have forced the company to start in an exclusive market, he noted, but plans call for the creation of affordable vehicles in the future.
“The next models we plan to develop will have a significantly lower purchase price,” he said. “In addition, future models will be provided to autonomous and shared car fleets, so the purchase price can be divided amongst a large group of users. Combined with the low operating costs of the vehicle, we aim to provide premium mobility for a low price-per-kilometer.”
The company was founded in 2016 and now has more than 100 employees. It has received CES Climate Change Innovator and Postcode Lottery Green Challenge Finalist awards, and recently received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 848620.