Car of the future has the power to save the planet – and it’ll be here in 2021

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And that day has just come a lot closer with the announcement of the Lightyear One. 

The Dutch-made long-range electric car has solar panels on its bonnet and on its roof and has, according to the manufacturers, a 450 miles (725km) range on a single charge.

All-electric vehicles such as the Tesla have been limited by the availability of charging points to top up their batteries. 

But the Lightyear One could – weather permitting – go on and on without recharging at all.

What you will save on fuel, though, you will end up spending on the car itself. 

The car, which is expected to be delivered in 2021, has a reservation fee of €119,000 (£106,000).Lex Hoefsloot

lightyear one solar car

EFFICIENT: Teh car’s super lightweight chassis makes it consume less energy (Pic: LightYear)

“The next models we plan to develop will have significantly lower purchase prices”

Lex Hoefsloot

100 of the projected first run of 500 cars have already been reserved.

The car is, according to Lightyear’s CEO Lex Hoefsloot, an essential development in automobile technology.

He said: “Climate change is one of the biggest problems that we humans have faced in our history.

“It is such a frightening development that it is almost paralysing. We decided to do the opposite; as engineers, we believed we could do something.

“Lightyear One represents a huge opportunity to change mobility for the better.

“For centuries, we have lived in balance with nature. With the technologies of today, we have the opportunity to do so again.

“By starting from scratch and using the laws of nature as a guideline, nature becomes our greatest ally in developing ultra-efficient designs.”

LightYear One

ECO-FRIENDLY: The LightYear One can recharge its battery from sunlight (Pic: Lightyear)

Lightyear

FUTURE: First deliveries are expected in 2021 (Pic: Lightyear)

A revolutionary new type of transmission means that every wheel is independently driven from the power source, eliminating energy wastage, and the car can also be charged at charging station as well as from its two ultra-tough solar panels.

The panels contain five square meters of solar cells protected by a layer of safety glass, which the company claims is “so strong that a fully-grown adult can walk on them without causing dents.”

Mr Hoefsloot said the company already has plans for future versions of the car.

Lightspeed

ROBOT: Future versions will offer autonomous operation (Pic: Lightspeed)

Since new technology has a high unit cost, we have to start in an exclusive market; Lightyear One is the first long-range solar car and has staggering specifications,” he said.

“The next models we plan to develop will have significantly lower purchase prices.

“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 kilometre.

“A third, final step will be to provide truly sustainable cars that are more affordable to use than the cost of gas you need to drive a combustion car.

“This will prove to be our most important tipping point in the near future, and it will pave the way for a car fleet that is 100% sustainable.”

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