The idea of a solar powered car has been around for decades, but it wasn't until recently that the technology was advanced enough to make it a reality. Electric vehicle startup Lightyear recently unveiled its first solar-powered electric vehicle, the Lightyear 0, at an event in the Netherlands. This vehicle has a range of 388 miles, 44 of which are powered solely by solar energy. The car is designed to be able to charge itself with a normal plug and outlet, and its windswept design eliminates the need for side mirrors in favor of cameras.
Chinese solar panel manufacturer Hanergy is also planning to build and sell solar cars equipped with lithium-ion batteries to consumers in China. Mercedes Benz has teamed up with fashion designer Virgil Abloh to create a solar-powered electric car with a transparent front hood. The first solar car model was created by General Motors employee William G in 1987. After six years of development, Lightyear 0 was launched as the world's first solar vehicle. The World Solar Challenge is an international competition that takes place in Australia, where competitors race to cross the continent over a distance of 3000 kilometers (1900 miles).
Solar panels can add up to 43 miles (70 kilometers) of range per day, in addition to the 388 miles (625 kilometers) estimated in Europe's WLTP cycle. The technology behind solar powered cars is advancing rapidly, and it won't be long before we see them on the roads. With their ability to charge themselves and their potential for zero emissions, solar powered cars could be the future of transportation.