Solar race spawned Lightyear plans to partner with Dutch-based car leasing service LeasePlan to release the first consumer solar-based vehicle by 2020. Lightyear has been aiming to create a consumer version of an energy positive solar vehicle for years now, effectively meaning they produce more energy than they consume.

Further, today’s press release also details that Lightyear this week will open its primary production factory at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, Netherlands.

The company describes the vehicle with the following.

The Lightyear One is the first electric car with integrated solar cells capable of driving 8,000 to 10,000 kilometres per year on solar energy in the Netherlands. The design of the car is still top secret, but it is already known that it is a five-seater hatchback with all-wheel drive, with a range of up to 800 kilometers

Currently, Lightyear employs 100 staffers and plans to release initial prototypes as early as summer 2019. Additionally, they claim they can deliver the first batch of vehicles by 2020.

The full press release can be read below.

Helmond, the Netherlands, 13 December 2018: LeasePlan Netherlands will collaborate with Dutch scale-up Lightyear, the first company in the world to develop an electric solar car for consumers. LeasePlan Netherlands will become Lightyear’s leasing partner for the Lightyear One, the first car produced by the company. The Pioneer Edition of the Lightyear One is expected to drive on Dutch roads in 2020.

Lightyear, founded by triple World Solar Challenge winners, will open its production facility at the Automotive Campus in Helmond, the Netherlands this week. The Lightyear One is the first electric car with integrated solar cells capable of driving 8,000 to 10,000 kilometres per year on solar energy in the Netherlands. The design of the car is still top secret, but it is already known that it is a five-seater hatchback with all-wheel drive, with a range of up to 800 kilometres.

Lightyear has grown to 100 employees and is working with engineering firms FEV and EDAG to launch the first prototypes in the summer of 2019. The first Lightyear Ones sold will be delivered in 2020.

Thanks to the cooperation between LeasePlan Netherlands and Lightyear, the solar car can be both bought and leased. This makes the car directly accessible to a broader corporate target group.

Leaders in sustainable mobility

LeasePlan and Lightyear are both in pioneering roles in the field of sustainable mobility and have ambitions to accelerate the transition to clean mobility. This was underlined this week by both parties’ participation in the UNFCCC climate conference in Katowice.

Erik Henstra, Managing Director of LeasePlan Netherlands: “Lightyear shows that it is possible to drive electrically on solar power. As a leasing partner we want to offer our customers the opportunity to make a powerful sustainability statement by driving the world’s first solar car for consumers. This cooperation also contributes to our ambition to completely eliminate emissions from our own fleet in 2021 and our total fleet of 1.8 million cars in 2030.

“With LeasePlan we have a strong partner on board that strengthens us with a solid network in the Netherlands and Europe”, adds Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “Corporate drivers play an important pioneering role in the introduction of new technologies. We’ve seen that before with the electric car. This partnership with LeasePlan will certainly help us as we move towards the broad launch of the Lightyear One in 2021.”

The company and car comes from the winners of the World Solar Challenge, whose Stella Lux was a functional, energy positive solar vehicle. While that vehicle was far from consumer ready — especially because of that design — it offered an exciting, realistic glimpse into the future of automobiles.

In other solar car related news, earlier today, a vehicle built by students from University of New South Wales in Australia broke the world record in efficiency during a 4,100k trip.

What do you think about Lightyear’s claims of delivering consumer ready solar vehicles in the notoriously not sunny Netherlands by 2020? Let us know down below in the comments.

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