Dutch start-up’s new quadricycle features built-in solar panels
The electric quadricycle features built-in solar panels and is now available for preorder after three years of development work by Squad Mobility, a firm that was founded by Robert Hoevers and Chris Klok in 2019. They previously worked for Lightyear, a firm developing a long-range solar car – but the Solar City Car is tasked with tackling short, inner-city journeys.
Due to go on sale next year and priced from €6250 (5290) excluding VAT in Europe, the Solar City Car is intended for both private and shared mobility use. There is no news yet on if it will be offered in the UK.
The two-seater is two metres long, one-metre wide and 1.6 metres tall, and is powered by a pair of 2kW electric motors that power the rear wheels and give a top speed of 28mph. So expect to be able to park it in really tight spaces.
Like the Ami, it is classed in the L6e vehicle category for light four-wheeled vehicles, which means it can be driven by 16-year-olds in certain countries (but not the UK). A more powerful 44mph version, which would sit in the L7 vehicle category, is planned for a later date.
The Solar City Car can house up to four 1.6kWh batteries, giving a maximum capacity of 6.4kWh, enough for a range of 62 miles. Squad claims the on-roof solar batteries can add 12.5 miles of range a day on a sunny day in Europe. The firm notes the average quadricycle user drives about seven miles a day. And the Solar City Car isn’t reliant on the sun to power the batteries. It can be plugged into a 220V socket and the battery packs are removable, so they can be taken to a power source for charging.
Beyond the solar power and battery tech, the machine features a built-in roll cage, seat belts and a full front and rear crash structure, while the doors can be removed. As with many quadricycles, the interior is a little basic, but includes a phone holder, a USB charger and optional air conditioning. The two-seater features 168 litres of storage, which rises to 243 litres if you fold the passenger seat.
The Solar City Car is designed for both private use and for mobility and car-sharing fleet schemes – with operators of such schemes able to order a ‘power wall’ to charge multiple battery packs at the same time.
As well as being offered for sale outright, the firm is planning subscription and lease schemes, with the latter starting from £84 per month. It is yet to be confirmed if Squad will officially offer the machine in the UK.
Various car firms have experimented with solar panels on machines over the years, and it was offered as an option on the previous Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. But the size of the panels meant the charge it added was rarely cost-effective for full-size cars – the Prius was estimated to add around 100 miles of range per year.