Lightyear's solar-powered electric vehicle can go 'months without charging'

The Lightyear 0 solar powered car
The vehicle can charge itself while commuting or simply parked outdoors. Photo credit: Supplied / Lightyear

The company developing the world's first solar-powered consumer car has unveiled its first production vehicle after six years of work.

Lightyear said drivers who purchase the Lightyear 0 can expect to drive for up to seven months without being plugged into a public charger or household outlet, depending where they are located in the world.

The company said it expects the new car to go into production later this year, but the new technology will come at a price.

The Lightyear 0 solar powered car
Photo credit: Supplied / Lightyear

Anyone wanting one of the first 946 cars, the maximum that will be produced, will have to fork out €250,000 ($NZ414,000) to be a pioneer.

That money will be put to good use, however. It will be used to "move forward with Lightyear's next model, which is being designed for high volume production at an accessible starting price point of €30,000 (NZ$50,000)," the company said.

Production of the lower-priced high volume model is set for late 2024 or early 2025, it said.

"Today is the day we've all been waiting for since us five co-founders sat in a kitchen sketching out our dream of building the most sustainable car on the planet," Lightyear's co-founder and CEO Lex Hoefsloot said.

"In 2016, we only had an idea; three years later, we had a prototype. Now, after six years of testing, iterating, (re)designing, and countless obstacles, Lightyear 0 is proof that the impossible is actually possible."

The Lightyear 0 features five square metres of patented, double curved solar arrays,  allowing the vehicle to charge itself while commuting or simply parked outdoors, Lightyear said.

The Lightyear 0 solar powered car
Photo credit: Supplied / Lightyear

The panels will yield up to 11,000 kilometres of driving per year on top of the battery, meaning drivers in Spain or Portugal which get lots of sun, could go as much as seven months without charging if they drive less than 70km per day, the company said.

The car will have four in-wheel motors, which Lightyear claims will constitute the "most efficient electric drivetrain available today".

It will have a top speed of 160km/h and will accelerate from 0 to 100km/h in 10 seconds.

The Lightyear 0 solar powered car
Photo credit: Supplied / Lightyear

On a normal home socket, the car will be able to get up to 32km in charge per hour. That increases to 200km on public charging networks and 520km on fast chargers.

"Since its inception, Lightyear has sought to develop a car that eliminates strain on the planet and the driver; therefore, every design detail has been considered with minimalism, sustainability, and comfort in mind," Lightyear said.

"The dashboard has a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system that permits cloud-based updates, and the interior is composed entirely of vegan and naturally-sourced materials such as ecological microfiber suede seats and rattan palm detailing."

The first cars will be delivered as early as November, Lightyear said.