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This car uses solar power, and the company behind it claims it’s the “most efficient” EV ever

In a recent test, the EV traveled over 248 miles at 81 MPH.

Lightyear one solar car in desert
Image: Lightyear

Electric vehicles are great, but they still need to be plugged in quite often. What if they could harness the power of solar to charge your EV so that the car would always have some power in the tank? Enter the Lightyear One, from Dutch company Lightyear, which can do just that.

The five square meters of specially-hardened solar panels on the top of the car constantly convert solar energy into stored battery energy. Lightyear says it can charge nearly 44 miles of range per day, which would be enough to get to the nearest charging station or even all the way home.

Think of how long your car stays parked while you’re at work, compared to the distance of your commute. No more finding a charging station while you’re at work. No more trips to the gas station. Just clean solar power, charging up your car while you work.

The car even recycles all of its generated heat, turning it back into usable energy. All of that efficiency means recent testing showed it could travel over 248 miles while traveling at 81 MPH. That’s impressive, especially considering the test was done in cold conditions, where lithium-ion batteries don’t perform as well.

READ MORE: Sony and Honda forge new partnership to make electric cars

Last year, Lightyear set a performance milestone by going over 440 miles on a single 60 kWh charge with the Lightyear One. That was set at an average speed of 53 MPH around a test track. For comparison’s sake, the Tesla Model S Long Range has a 407 mile estimated range, from a 100 kWh battery pack.

That puts Lightyear One way ahead of Tesla’s efficiency numbers. Lightyear says “even the most efficient electric cars in the market today consume around 50-percent more energy” at speeds around 53 MPH.

If you’ve got $171,000 to spend on a new electric vehicle, the Lightyear One is currently on sale, but only for residents of European Union countries, Norway, and Switzerland.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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