Above (click to zoom) is a chart showing WLTP-standard driving ranges for four electric vehicles (brown for battery range, yellow for the boost due to solar panels). The four cars are:
- Solar Team Eindhoven’s Stella Era, winner of the World Solar Challenge Cruiser class (not for sale, of course)
- Lightyear One, a commercial solar car from the Netherlands which incorporates considerable know-how from solar car racing
- The Sion electric vehicle from Sono Motors
- The non-solar Tesla Model 3 Long Range
The sleek Stella Era has almost double the range of the Tesla, in spite of having a much smaller battery pack. This is due to the Dutch racing car’s extremely aerodynamic shape and light carbon-fibre construction. Lightyear One comes about as close to the performance of Stella Era as you would expect a normal-looking production car to come (and is about two and a half times as heavy).
The rather boxy Sion has a much smaller range than Lightyear One (but, at an expected €25,500, is much cheaper). Which solar car would you choose?