The First-Ever Fully Solar-Powered Car Hits the Road in 2019
According to the Dutch solar-powered car company Lightyear, humans drive about 9.5 trillion kilometers (or 5.9 million miles) a year. Coincidentally, that's the same distance it takes light to travel in a year. This number became the genesis of Lightyear's name, as well as their goal: create a car that allows people to travel the same distance using only the power of the sun.
Lightyear previously created the Stella and Stella Lux, which looked like other solar-powered prototypes: big, bulky, and weirdly shaped, but efficient.
Next year, however, Lightyear's coming out with a sleek-looking commercial car that can travel between 400 and 800 kilometers (250-500 miles) on a single battery charge, thanks in part to "optimized aerodynamics and weight saving features."
The major selling point of the car, called the Lightyear One, is that it can be charged wholly on solar energy, rather than just electrical charging ports (it can use those too!).
According to the Lightyear, you can drive the car at night and in cloudy weather on battery charge alone, through where you live will probably affect your mileage: if you live in New York, you'll be able to harvest about 14,000 kilometers worth of travel time from the sun, while people in Madrid will be able to harvest around 17,000.
Lightyear is only planning on producing 10 cars next year, each of which will go for around 119,000 euros, then bumping up production to 100 cars in 2020. Either way, they've already won the Climate Change Innovators Award at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, announced this week.
There's really only one catch for those interested in picking up a Lightyear right now: no one knows what the whole car looks like, apart from a few photos floating around the internet and the shadowy trailer images. If you're interested in buying, you can send the team an email and they'll get you a better look, but until then the Lightyear One is a mystery.