Lightyear's Ahead

Even before electric cars officially take over as the new normal, clean driving just isn't enough for some. One company is looking to take green personal transportation to unprecedented heights. Lightyear is a next-generation car company from the Netherlands that is making some truly lofty promises. The company is working on bringing the world a vehicle powered not just by electricity, but by energy generated from the sun.

According to the company's website, "all cars of the world combined drive one light year, every year." Their mission is to switch from a fossil fuel powered light year of travel to one powered by the sun by 2030.

Lightyear is hoping to sidestep one of the major limitations and anxieties of electric vehicles: range. Mass adoption of electric vehicles could be hindered by a lack of investment in charging infrastructure. The website claims that "[o]nly 3% of the world population lives within 100 km of a publicly accessible charging station."

Everything the Light Touches

The vehicle promised will be powered by energy stored in a battery that can be charged both by a standard (3.7 kW) outlet, as well as solar panels in the vehicle's body. In a sunny environment like Hawaii, the car could theoretically run for months between charges. Even without the sun, the car could run for a significant range. "Depending on your battery configuration you have between 400 - 800 km of range buffered in the battery," Lightyear says on their website's FAQ section.

This technology has yet to be proven, although the company is planning to have ten vehicles produced in 2019. Cost is also a considerable barrier to obtaining one of these future cars. You can reserve one for €19,000 (around $21,700) — a small chunk of the overall €119,000 ($135,800) price tag. It's an interesting addition to the EV lineup, so we'll be sure to keep an eye on the development of this technology as the first prototype gets closer to hitting the road.

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