It’s not even on the road yet, but Lightyear, the Dutch startup aiming to bring Lightyear One, a solar-powered electric vehicle (EV), for the masses to the market already is working to make it easy for people to get access to the sedan, which has a purported range of 800 kilometers (497 miles). That’s thanks to a new partnership with LeasePlan Netherlands, which offer leasing and purchasing options for the car.
There are an increasing number of EVs and EV options from Teslas to Nissan LEAFs, and they can be charged by solar powered chargers or rooftop solar systems. But to date there are no commercial EVs designed to be powered by the sun. So Lightyear’s plans are a potential ground-breaker.
Details about the solar-powered car have yet to come to light, Lightyear is expected to introduce the Lightyear One to Dutch roads as soon as 2020. In anticipation the company has expanded its workforce to 100 employees and is working with engineering firms FEV and EDAG to launch their prototypes in 2019. It also recently opened its production facility at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, the Netherlands.
“Lightyear shows that it is possible to drive electrically on solar power. As a leasing partner we want to offer our customers the opportunity to make a powerful sustainability statement by driving the world's first solar car for consumers. This cooperation also contributes to our ambition to completely eliminate emissions from our own fleet in 2021 and our total fleet of 1.8 million cars in 2030,” said Erik Henstra, managing director of LeasePlan Netherlands.
The company was founded by 5 Solar Team Eindhoven alumni who collectively won three World Solar Challenge races in Australia. The team designed some of the first four-seater cars for the challenge, the Stella & Stella Lux, and have won numerous awards and garnered financing for their startup.
"With LeasePlan we have a strong partner on board that strengthens us with a solid network in the Netherlands and Europe,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. "Corporate drivers play an important pioneering role in the introduction of new technologies. We've seen that before with the electric car. This partnership with LeasePlan will certainly help us as we move towards the broad launch of the Lightyear One in 2021.”
Though details about the car remain scant the Lightyear said the EV will drive between 8,000 to 10,000 kilometers a year, based on the amount of solar energy that’s available in the Netherlands. It will be a five-seater hatchback with all-wheel drive.Tweet