Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by David Williams
If you take a look at some of the latest headlines under the Technology or Future categories in any prominent news publication, you’ll find that any mention of futuristic cars will mostly be filled with all sorts of buzzwords. All-electric, self-driving, and driverless are among those most commonly used, to name a few. But there’s one futuristic car innovation that has actually been a tried-and-tested enhancement available in cars for many years now. Do the words solar-powered car ring a bell?
A company called Lightning has just received a Climate Change Innovator Award at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, for its creation of what could end up being the world’s first fully usable solar-powered vehicle. It’s called the Lightyear One, and it’s dubbed simply as “the car that charges itself,” as it relies solely on solar radiation to get all of its power.
According to a report on the Lightyear One, it’s designed to drive for months on end without needing to recharge, and supposedly has a range of around 400 km to 800 km per charge. The idea of a solar-powered car has been around for quite some time now, but the creation of the Lightyear One just might see it in the hands of actual mainstream end-users, which could lead to more widespread adoption at some point in the not-so-distant future.
The Lightyear One was showcased and demonstrated at this year’s CES but it isn’t available for sale or purchase yet. It is said that the first 10 units of the Lightyear One will only be released at some point in 2019, and that in the meantime, its creators are working hard to perfect its design.
It’s not that hard to imagine what kind of benefits a solar-powered car can bring. For one thing, you can rely mostly on the sun to get power for your car, if you had one. The fact that it could go months between charges or last up to 800 km on the road would be a boon, as would the fact that it would allow you to save a ton of money on gas that you would otherwise need in a normal type of vehicle.
Another benefit of using a solar-powered car would be the reduction of harmful effects on the environment. By using a solar-powered car, you wouldn’t be burning any harmful fossil fuels that would end up hurting the Earth’s atmosphere.
Before now, solar-powered cars were never truly considered to be feasible forms of transportation. For one thing, the ever-changing climate and weather in different parts of the world make the idea of having a year-long solar-powered car kind of unrealistic. For a time, Solar Assisted Electric Vehicles (SAEVs) were thought of as the best possible option for solar-powered cars, but it looks like things are about to change very soon.
Lightyear’s work with the Lightyear One could really push forward the idea that it’s possible to have a car that uses solar power exclusively in order to function. Currently, the people behind it are working out the kinks of their concept, and hoping that the project can leave its early-stage design phase so that it can show the world the real possibilities with having such a technology out in the open.
Learn more about solar power and its applications at Power.news.