New electric cars are coming out all the time. Some are fancier than others. All are changing the way we think about cars. The Lightyear One is one of those.
With a maximum range of almost 500 miles (800 km), this Tesla-esque looking vehicle, engineered and built by the Helmond, Netherlands-based company of the same name, uses solar panels that cover the entire roof the car in order to charge continuously as it runs. This battery can be fast-charged – where it gains enough power for 570kmh in an hour – or traditionally charged via your regular old power socket, gaining up to 250 miles worth of power overnight.
The car itself is Italian-designed, engineered to reduce weight through use of lightweight, future-ready materials (aluminum and carbon fiber) without sacrificing safety. Lighter weight means less energy consumption and longer range. The solar panels sit beneath a glass panel that’s strong enough you can walk on it, and the precision aerodynamics mean little drag.
Exactly how far this can car can go on a single charge depends on factors like weather, time of year, traffic and driving style. Range is shorter in winter, but you should be able to get about 250 miles/400 km out of a single charge. And if you run out of battery, the solar panels up top should provide enough power to get you to the nearest power outlet.
With a 0-60 of 10 seconds, it doesn’t quite have supercar speed. But it’s a clean-moving, futuristic-looking and forward-thinking vehicle that should get drivers where they need to be. The roomy interior and ample storage space mean it’s a comfy ride.