Soon it will be possible to get a solar-charged EV in the US for as little as $6,250—with a compelling product.
Squad Solar City Car is a product of Dutch company Squad Mobility, founded in 2019. Launched in May last year, it uses sunlight to recharge the battery pack. Deliveries are slated to begin in 2024, and Squad recently confirmed that the car is coming to the US.
However, this tiny two-seater EV (a four-seater version is planned) doesn’t really qualify as a car in the US. It was built to fit the European Union’s L6e category, technically making it a “light four-wheeler”. In the United States, Squad says it’s classified as a Low Speed Vehicle (LSV), with a top speed limited to 25 mph. The company considers gated communities, resorts and other self-contained properties as possible use cases, but notes that three of the vehicles can fit into a single roadside parking space. .
Solar city car fleet
It’s not that Squad EVs will be capable of higher speeds. The 772 lb vehicle was propelled by a pair of 2 kW (2.6 hp) engines, one driving each rear wheel. They are powered by a 6.4 kWh battery pack which is then charged by a roof mounted solar panel with a maximum output of 250 watts or by conventional Level 1 AC charging.
On sunny days in the Netherlands, Squad estimates the solar panels will provide a range of 13.6 miles, or up to 29.2 miles in sunnier Las Vegas. The battery pack includes replaceable and portable modules, providing an estimated range of up to 62 miles excluding solar power. However, the base version only has a 31-mile range.
Paying only the base price also means giving up the door, although the Squad EV has three-point seat belts, a roll cage, and front and rear crash structures.
Solar city car fleet
Solar-powered electric vehicles seem to be a new trend, but most of the other trends to date—like Apterathe Sono Sionand light year 0 much more expensive. The Squad Solar City Car also seems to be the first to apply the solar concept to micro-EVs.
Among other micro-EVs—although not solar-powered—the Citroën Ami are being rented in Europe for cheap. Citroën quoted a comparable price of less than $23 a month when the Ami was launched in 2020. The automaker no longer sells cars in the US, but has hinted at plans to bring the Ami here as a part of parent company Stellantis’ Free2Move mobile service.
another one is Eli Zero, from an LA company that plans to sell Chinese-made two-seater cars in the US and Europe. Eli began production in small numbers in September—originally for Europe only.