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Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car

Everyone loves the idea of a car covered with solar panels that just powers itself! The latest entry is Lightyear 0, which calls itself the world's first production-ready solar car.

As early as November, the company will start delivery of what it describes as the “world’s first production-ready solar car” – the Lightyear 0, a €250,000 (£215,000) sedan draped in 5 square metres of curved solar panels that top up the electric battery while the car is driving or parked outdoors.

In optimal conditions, the solar panels can add up to 44 miles a day to the 388-mile range the car gets between charges, according to the company. Tests carried out by Lightyear suggest people with a daily commute of less than 22 miles could drive for two months in the Netherlands without needing to plug in, while those in sunnier climes such as Portugal or Spain could go as long as seven months.

the company envisions the production run, which will offer up to 946 vehicles for delivery across Europe and the UK, as a beginning of sorts. “This is a small scale to validate to the world that we can produce a car,” said Telian Franken, the prototype team lead.

From there, the company will shift its focus to a second solar-assisted electric car it is aiming to sell for about €30,000 as early as 2025. “We’re trying to make the difference, not for the millionaire who can afford a €250,000 car, but to get us to the point where the average person can get off grid...

(Via TheGuardian.)

As far as I know, the first reference to the phrase "solar car" is found in The Man Who Bought Mars, a 1941 story by Polton Cross. However, the car does not itself have solar energy-gathering capability, it's just a reference to how energy is procured.

Here's science fiction Grandmaster Robert Heinlein's idea, the Steel Tortoise, from his memorable 1940 story Coventry, which is in some ways more modest, but interesting in its execution:

The vehicle he had chosen was not an unreasonable substitute for burros. It was extremely rugged, easy to operate, and almost foolproof. It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof. These drove a constant-load motor, or, when halted, replenished the storage battery against cloudy weather, or night travel. The bearings were 'everlasting', and every moving part, other than the caterpillar treads and the controls, were sealed up, secure from inexpert tinkering.


Steel Tortoise from 'Coventry' by Robert Heinlein)

It could maintain a steady six miles per hour on smooth, level pavement. When confronted by hills, or rough terrain, it did not stop, but simply slowed until the task demanded equaled its steady power output.

(Read more about steel tortoise)

Thanks to Winchell Chung (@nyrath) for the heads-up on this new car.

Plug in your solar cell and check out these other solar cars:

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/29/2022)

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