So you want to buy a solar car?

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?


5 thoughts on “So you want to buy a solar car?

  1. Pingback: How solar is that solar car? | Scientific Gems

  2. A boxy car means there’s lots of space in the car to take things with you. Also, the Sono Sion acts as a house-battery, has a 220V output etc etc. And, you can buy 6 Sions for the price of one Lightyear-one… So the Sion for me 🙂

    • By “boxy,” I meant that practicality has taken priority over aerodynamics, which is part of the reason for the smaller range. But the low cost of the Sion is a major selling point. Most people will agree that the Sion is the solar car for them, I think.

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