Electric vehicles that charge themselves with sunlight are now starting to pop up, and the smallest one we’ve seen is this quadricycle created by Squad, a startup founded by two former Ligtyear employees in 2019 and based in Breda, the Netherlands. The Squad Solar City Car isn’t so much a car, but more a four-wheeled scooter with a big solar panel on the roof that is said to provide up to 20 km (12 miles) of free range per day (tested in the Nertherlands), on top of its stated range on one charge of its battery pack of 100 km (62 miles).
In Europe, you can drive vehicles like this without a license, as long as they fall below a certain threshold for power and top speed. Two versions will be offered: a two-seater that tops out at 45 km/h (28 mph) and a four-seater that has a top speed of 70 km/h (43 mph). Both are powered by a 3.2 horsepower (2 kW) motor drawing from up to four individual batteries that can be easily swapped out.
Each has a capacity of 1.6 kWh, so when all four are installed, the vehicle boasts 6.4 kWh, allowing it to hit its maximum stated range. The vehicle gets a heater as standard, but buyers will have to pay extra for doors and air conditioning, adding to its base price of €6,250.
The base version only comes with two of the four battery modules, so its range is 50 km (31 miles), but you can pay to have all the slots filled when you buy the vehicle. You can also choose the €9,300 Limited Edition that does come with all four batteries, but this version can only be reserved with a €5,000 initial payment.
Squad also intends to bring the solar EV to the United States, where it will start at $6,250. The debut will take place at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January of 2023, although just like in Europe, the company is hoping to sell these vehicles to fleet customers to be used in ride sharing services, more so than for private buyers, although you will be able to order one for yourself come next year.
It may have some issues fitting in in the United States where people might call it a golf cart, because unlike in Europe where such vehicles have been on sale for years, in the US they have so far not caught on. It will be interesting to see how successful this vehicle is, especially given its very interesting solar component that might mean free daily commutes in warmer climates.