The world’s first solar car has begun production – a 4-5 passenger EV that hails a new chapter in automotive history.

The Dutch company Lightyear officially commenced assembly of its first vehicle, aptly titled ‘Lightyear 0’, becoming the first automotive firm to manufacture an electric vehicle that generates a realistic amount of charge via sunlight.

Taking advantage of as much body space as possible with their 5 curved solar arrays totalling 53 square feet, the Lightyear 0 (formerly the Lightyear One) charges wherever there is daylight, whether parked or on the move.

Lightyear claims the model can yield up to 40 miles of free range per day from the sun alone (70 km), explaining, “with an infinite power source like that on its roof, Lightyear 0 can drive for months without charging.”

Non-solar charging can be achieved by plugging into a regular home socket, which will offer over 186 miles (300 kilometers) of range overnight.

“After six years of developing its own technologies, Lightyear has surpassed one of the most challenging phases for new automotive companies: entering the market with novel technology,” said the company in a statement.

At the Valmet Automotive facility in Finland, the firm plans to produce one of the cars every week – priced at around $255,000 (£216,000), with plans to scale up production in the first quarter of 2023 to help wealthy city-drivers decarbonise.

If in the next 10-20 years solar panels can become greater producers of energy, electric cars would finally circumvent the criticism that just because a car uses electricity and not fossil fuels, doesn’t mean it’s any better for the environment since most electricity is generated through fossil fuels.

“We have hit many milestones in recent years, from major funding achievements to great partnerships,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear. “However, today is the most significant, and probably the most challenging, milestone we have reached so far.”

“Starting production of Lightyear 0, the first solar car, brings us a big step closer to our mission of clean mobility for everyone, everywhere. We may be the first to achieve this, but I certainly hope we aren’t the last.”