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  • By The Financial District

Dutch Firm To Produce Solar-Powered Cars This Year

Lightyear, a Dutch company, has announced that it will begin manufacturing the world's first production car equipped with solar panels this fall, according to Tommy O'Callaghan for CNN.

Photo Insert: The Lightyear

The Lightyear 0 will have curved solar panels in its roof, hood, and trunk that will charge the electric battery while driving or parked, and it could be available in Europe as early as November.

According to the company, the car will be able to travel approximately 388 miles before needing to be recharged, and the solar panels will provide an additional range of up to 44 miles per day. For comparison, a Tesla Model 3 has a range of 374 miles, while the Kia Niro Long Range has a range of 285 miles.

The vehicle is also priced at a premium. The inaugural model costs €250,000 ($262,000), which is somewhat more than a Ferrari Roma and significantly more than mid-range family EVs like the Nissan Leaf ($27,000 in the US) or the Tesla Model 3 ($50,000).

However, by 2025, the company plans to deliver the Lightyear Two, a "people's model" that will cost around €30,000 ($31,215).

All the news: Business man in suit and tie smiling and reading a newspaper near the financial district.

According to Lightyear, each hour in the sun adds up to six miles of charge to the battery. The solar range will provide additional miles for long journeys, but it also means you'll spend less time at charging stations – or may not need them at all.

Therefore, if your daily commute is less than 22 miles in a hot country like Spain or Portugal, you won't need to plug in the car for up to seven months. In a cloudier climate, such as the Netherlands, charging would be required after two months.

Business: Business men in suite and tie in a work meeting in the office located in the financial district.

The "0" shares many similarities with the Lightyear One prototype, but can do more with a smaller battery, according to company CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot.

He claims "The powertrain is the most efficient in the world," adding that the car's aerodynamic shape and four in-wheel motors enable a smaller battery to provide the same range.

Science & technology: Scientist using a microscope in laboratory in the financial district.

That means "the whole car is lighter," he says, "and you get into this positive feedback cycle where everything can become lighter as well. That's how we've been able to get to 1,575 kilograms. If you look at other cars that offer similar range, they're all about 40% heavier."

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