At a time when global automotive giants are beginning to ramp up their presence in the electric vehicle market, a Dutch startup is attempting to launch it in an entirely new direction.
Courtesy of Lightyear
The company is designing a car -- the Lightyear One -- which they say will be entirely solar-powered, will drive for months without charging, and have a range of 250 to 500 miles.
This is more than just a pipe dream. The company, also called Lightyear, just won a Climate Change Innovator Award at the Consumer Technology Association show in Las Vegas, Nevada. This prize is awarded to the companies which have the biggest potential for CO2 reduction.
The company hopes to roll out 10 Lightyear One cars in 2019. As noted in a recent release from the World Economic Forum, designers and inventors have long dreamed of making solar-powered cars, only to have those dreams dashed by harsh reality.
The WEF notes, for instance that a solar roof designed to power the Toyota Prius was found to only be useful in combination with a traditional battery charging system and it only added an additional four miles to the range.
Some studies have suggested that even under optimal conditions, a solar-powered car would have no more horsepower than a golf cart or a lawnmower.
But the founders of Lightyear aren't content to accept the conventional wisdom.
The five founders are alumni of Solar Team Eindhoven, and played significant roles in designing the Stella, which competed in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and won the team a Best Technology Achievement "Crunchie" award.
They followed that up by creating the Stella Lux, the world's first solar-powered family car and winner of the 2015 World Solar Challenge championship.