World first: LeasePlan to offer solar EV subscription
LeasePlan has ordered 5,000 solar-powered EVs from Dutch manufacturing startup Lightyear. The lease company will offer them via the world’s first solar EV subscription service, which will allow customers to try and return the vehicle on a monthly basis. That won’t be for tomorrow though, as the vehicle will go into production only in 2024/25.
Meanwhile, LeasePlan will introduce the company’s first model, the Lightyear One (pictured), into its regular leasing offer in Europe. The Lightyear One will be produced from 2022 by Valmet Automotive, from Finland.
Founded in 2016, Lightyear aims to integrate the best available solar technology into EVs, to minimise charging. Its models draw power from a total of 5 m2 of solar cells embedded in the vehicle roof and hood. In March, the company announced a $48-million investment round, its largest to date.
The Lightyear One can drive up to 55 km per day on solar power alone, which covers the average daily commute in Europe (28 km). It will have a total range of 700 km. The solar EV allows motorists to drive up to 20,000 km a year using only the power of the sun – climate allowing. In 2019, TIME Magazine named the Lightyear One as one of its “100 best inventions” of the year.
The second, as yet unnamed model (our money is on “Lightyear Two”) will be available in Europe and beyond from around €30,000, which is considerably cheaper than the Lightyear One.