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These incredible solar-powered cars once cost over $250,000 — now, they're set to go on sale for a fraction of that price

"It's hard for me to envision that this won't be cost-effective."

Solar-electric car

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Beating bankruptcy is no easy feat, although it's exactly what one solar-electric company, Lightyear, seems to be doing. 

The startup vehicle manufacturer filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. But just one month later, it announced it is restructuring to focus fully on its newest mass-market model, the Lightyear 2. 

After failed attempts to get investors behind Lightyear's first solar-electric model, the company has refocused all its efforts on the production of the Lightyear 2. The first of Lightyear's woes may have started with the price tag on its original model, which was set to sell at a whopping $260,000

If the company can pull it off, the Lightyear 2 will be a huge step for clean energy vehicles. The solar-electric design boasts over 500 miles of driving range between charges, thanks to integrated "solar cells" placed on the outside of the vehicle. 

Lightyear also claims the vehicle can be charged three times less than a conventional EV. On top of all that, Lightyear says the vehicle has the smallest energy footprint on the market — with lifetime emissions being half that of conventional EVs. At an estimated price of less than $40,000, this could be huge for the sustainable vehicle movement. 

With specs like that, it's hard to see the downside to the Lightyear 2. And that's just what the company is banking on. In fact, Lightyear is so confident this time around that it has offered up its intellectual property as collateral for investors. 

For many, solar vehicles seem like the next reasonable step for clean energy vehicles. Dan Kammen, professor of energy at U.C. Berkeley, told CNBC that he expects solar tech makes the most financial sense for consumers. 

"Solar panels are so inexpensive, and integrating them into the skins [of vehicles] is so easy that once you get over that initial learning curve, those initial couple thousand vehicles out there, it's hard for me to envision that this won't be cost-effective," Kammen told the outlet. 

If all goes as planned, the Lightyear 2 will be heading to market as early as 2025. There's even a free waitlist you can join to be the first to know when Lightyear 2 launches.

Hopefully, Lightyear 2 can propel the sustainability of our vehicles to infinity and beyond. 

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