24 Jan 23

Lightyear already quits production of its first solar car

Lightyear already quits production of its first solar car

Barely three months after the production start, Dutch startup Lightyear has aborted assembly of its first solar car 0 (pronounced: zero). Permanently. In an effort to bring the more affordable 2 to the market, the company has also asked the court ‘suspension of payment proceedings’ for its operation arm responsible for production.

Co-founder Lex Hoefsloot told Dutch newspaper Financieel Dagblad: “This hasn’t been an easy decision. But, unfortunately, we had to make it. We have learned a lot from the genesis of Lightyear 0 and now we want to redirect all our energy towards building Lightyear 2.” 

Lightyear started production of the €250,000 euro costing 0 in November 2022 at a rate of one car per week at Valmet in Finland. However, just days after delivering the first vehicle to its customer, the company now says that the assembly cost has become too expensive.

The original plan was to produce 946 units. Instead, pre-orders stood at 150, but only a handful will ever see the light of day in a bid not to jeopardise the future of the solar car maker.

Strong interest from leasing

That future has become dim. The more affordable model 2 isn’t scheduled to enter production before the end of 2025. And as Lightyear has sought court protection from debtors for its operating subsidiary, it must look for new investors to raise fresh capital. The company has grown too fast, outpacing its financial support.

Interest for the 2 from the leasing and mobility sector proves significantly strong. Athlon jumped the solar bandwagon, while Leaseplan put down an order of 5,000 units. Dutch car-sharing operator Mywheels did the same. Arval pre-ordered 10,000 units shortly after Lightyear opened the waiting list. Arval keeps its official statement about the partnership online. Leaseplan has deleted theirs from their website.

Image Source: Lightyear

Authored by: Piet Andries