Imagine a future where our roads are populated by clean, self-charging, solar-powered vehicles. To some this scenario seems rather far-fetched, with many engineers suggesting that with current solar technology, a practical solar car is simply not feasible.
However, Lightyear – a Dutch start-up that has designed a solar-powered car prototype which can supposedly drive for months without charging – has recently won a Climate Change Innovator Award at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The company say that the first batch of 10 Lightyear One cars will be released in 2019, with the next 100 expected in 2020. Each vehicle is estimated to cost around $135,000 (£100,000, €113,233) The car will be able to run only on solar energy – although you can also charge it from the mains - and it will have a range of 400-800 km range, according to the company.
However, details of how exactly the car will be produced are thin on the ground, with Lightyear providing scant information.
On the other hand, the founders do have some previous experience in the field, having worked for non-profit organisation Solar Team Eindhoven which created the Stella series of solar-powered family car prototypes.
While it remains to be seen whether the Lightyear One will prove successful, solar power is set to play an ever more important role in the automotive industry in the coming years.