Solar-powered cars could be hitting the road in the next few years—offering short bits of range but potentially huge savings.
- Solar-powered, electric vehicles (EVs) are in the works and could be hitting roads in the U.S. and Europe in the coming years.
- German company Sono Motors, California-based Aptera Motors, and Dutch company Lightyear all have solar EVs in production with hopes of being commercialized in the near future.
- While the vehicles aren’t fully charged with solar powered—a plug-in charge is still needed—these innovative vehicles are paving the way for fully solar cars in the future.
Why it’s news
The demand for EVs has skyrocketed in the last few years making it the fastest growing segment in the auto industry.
As demand continues to grow so does innovation on how to continue making EVs better and more efficient. The latest innovation that will be hitting the streets in the coming years is solar-powered electric vehicles.
In order for EVs to drive they must use electricity to be charged, with solar powered EVs the vehicle can get energy from the sun to drive. While the cars aren’t completely solar powered yet, the new ones have been equipped with solar power to provide around 15 to 45 additional miles on a clear day to charge regular EV batteries.
For long drives the vehicles act as a regular EV, but for people who only drive short distances the vehicle can be powered by the sun and in turn the driver isn’t having to spend any money to power the car.
There are three solar EVs coming to the market in the next few years from German company Sono Motors, California-based Aptera Motors, and Dutch company Lightyear.
The first vehicle, the Sono Sion is expected in 2023 and will be priced around $25,000. The Sion looks like a typical EV and has a 190-mile range battery range.
“So this car gives you per year 5,700 miles free of charge, you know, free of any costs, because it comes from the sun. This is roughly 15 miles a day, which is perfect for commuters,” says Sono Motors co-CEO and co-founder Laurin Hahn.
The other is from Aptera and is set to begin production in the next year. This one differs from the Sion in the fact it was built to be aerodynamic and only has three wheels making it look different from a normal car.
This vehicle has motors in the wheels to make it more efficient and will be in the $26,000 and $48,000 featuring a 1,000-mile range battery.
The last one in production is the Lightyear 0. This vehicle is set to hit the roads of Europe by the end of the year and is similar to the Aptera with in-wheel motors and an aerodynamic look.
The big difference is it only has a 390-mile range and will be priced at $250,000. Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot says the price point is due to the limited number of vehicles in production and the second model is expected to be priced at $30,000.
While these cars aren’t completely solar powered they are opening the door to future possibilities of fully solar vehicles and paving the way for EV innovations everywhere.