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Electric cars are, obviously, better for the planet than conventional vehicles, and they’re the cornerstone of Elon Musk’s sustainability ambitions. But a Dutch startup wants to one-up Tesla by making a car that literally charges itself via solar power.
Lightyear, a startup based out of Eindhoven, Netherlands, unveiled its first concept car earlier this week. The electric vehicle, called the Lightyear One, is a luxury sedan with a standout feature — it can consistently replenish its battery using built-in solar panels. The company boasts that it can drive nearly 500 miles when fully powered, and in sunny regions of the world, could last months between charges.
The One can also be charged via a regular charging port — the company claims that even a standard power outlet can provide about 25 miles worth of juice in about an hour. Not only that, but Lightyear says that excess energy collected by the car’s solar panels can be transferred to your home, devices or even other electric vehicles.
Of course, the car is extremely ambitious, and Lightyear hasn’t really delved into how the One will actually be produced. While certain “industry partners” have apparently signed on, the startup was vague on the specifics. Suffice to say, Tesla probably isn’t too worried about Lightyear quite yet. Still, the concept is promising as it would ostensibly do away with concerns about range and reliable EV charging networks.
The One isn’t slated for mass-production just yet, however. Lightyear plans to produce just 10 of the vehicles by 2019, with an additional 100 by the following year. But if you want to own a One, be prepared to drop a load of cash on it. The vehicle is currently available to pre-order for about $21,700, with the final cost estimated to hit $135,800.