The "First Long-Range Solar-Powered Car" Isn't Quite That

The "First Long-Range Solar-Powered Car" Isn't Quite That

The Lightyear One

Solar power is the red-headed stepchild of alternative energy – especially for personal transportation. This … won’t change that.

The Lightyear One is billed as the “first long-range solar-powered electric car.” In reality, it’s more like a hybrid with solar capabilities. And, oh yeah, it’s far outside the average sucker’s price range.

Solar isn’t viable for conventional autos because the tech isn’t nearly efficient enough to propel a standard vehicle. That’s why pure solar cars resemble their airborne cousins – ultra-light, janky contraptions that are more solar panel than vehicle.

This is what a solar car looks like. The Lightyear One isn't that.

Dutch startup Lightyear boasts a range of 450 miles for their solar/electric prototype, but let’s be clear – the Lightyear One converts solar power at a rate of approximately 7.5 miles/hour. Otherwise, its battery is good for about 250 miles after a night of charging from a standard 230 V socket. Impressive, but nothing revolutionary.

If this were just another tricked-out EV for affluent eco warriors, I’d nod my head and turn the page. But the tech blogs (and Lightyear) are climbing aboard the solar bandwagon – “Lightyear One debuts as the first long-range solar-powered electric car.”

And it’s not. It’s a tricked-out EV – an efficient one, mind you – with a range-extending solar feature that’ll run you $135,000.

Read more about this “breakthrough” here: