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I drove the $260,000 Lightyear 0, the ‘world’s first production-ready solar car’ — here’s what it was like

The Lightyear 0.

Lightyear/lightyear.one

  • The Lightyear 0 is a solar-powered electric car made by the EV startup Lightyear.
  • The car is set to go on sale by the end of the year and cost 250,000 euros, or about $262,000.
  • Rodrigo Fersainz got the chance to test the car at an immersive experience in Navarre, Spain.

This is an edited, translated version of an article that originally appeared on June 27, 2022.

Lightyear, an electric-vehicle startup in the Netherlands, recently held a test event for its Lightyear 0 electric car, which it claims is “the world’s first production-ready solar car.”Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

The defining feature of the car is its 5 square meters of solar panels, which Lightyear says can add up to 43 miles a day to its range.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

You can monitor how much solar energy the car is taking in via screens in the car or an app on your phone.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

To get going in the Lightyear 0, you press the brake, hit the “D” button, and accelerate.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

The steering was initially quite heavy, but it seemed to improve over time.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

It’s fairly slow for an electric car — it has a top speed of 100 mph and can go from 0 to 62 mph in 10 seconds.Lightyear 0 Rodrigo Fersainz

Rodrigo Fersainz

When you lift off the accelerator in “light mode,” the car continues to cruise for a long time.Lightyear 0

Rodrigo Fersainz/Lightyear

The car’s suspension was quite stiff.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

The aerodynamic noise was a little loud both when the engine was running and when it was off.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

The Lightyear 0 has a lightweight, sleek design, with body panels made from reclaimed carbon fiber.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

It uses cameras instead of rearview mirrors.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

Lightyear says the interior is “vegan and eco-friendly” as it’s made from plant-based leather and sustainable fabrics. It says the steering wheel is 3D-printed.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

There are three seats in the back, but it’s a tight squeeze for your legs and anything you want to bring with you.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

But there’s lots of space in the trunk — it can hold 640 liters without folding down the rear seats.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

The car also has an infotainment system with a 10.1-inch screen.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

But there were too many screens in the car. Here’s one of the rearview camera displays mounted in the front corners.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

The Lightyear 0 is extremely expensive, at 250,000 euros, or about $262,000, but it comes with a warranty of eight years or 124,000 miles. Lightyear plans to start deliveries at the end of the year.Lightyear 0 test

Rodrigo Fersainz

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