Lightyear is halting manufacturing of its €250,000 photo voltaic EV to concentrate on its cheaper mannequin

Dutch-based solar EV maker Lightyear has announced that it is freezing production of its flagship model, the Lightyear 0 – less than three months after it began production. As part of a “strategic restructuring”, the company will now focus on manufacturing the Lightyear 2, which is priced at around 40,000 euros. It is scheduled to go into production at the end of 2025.

The company’s journey has been long and impressive. From a student team at a solar vehicle competition, Lightyear morphed into a startup in 2016 and quickly charted its way onto the automotive map with the Lightyear 0. The Solar EV featured some intoxicating internal technologies that promised to be a game changer in a niche market. It also came with a prohibitive price tag: €250,000.

The Light Year 0. Credit: Light Year

Lightyear says it didn’t take this decision lightly because it impacts its “employees,” “investors,” “customers,” “suppliers,” and “the government.” The reason for the move remains vague, with the announcement citing “challenges” over the past few months that made the action a necessary step to “secure” the startup’s vision.

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It’s not unreasonable to assume that battery supply shortages, semiconductor shortages, and rising material costs due to inflation could impact Lightyear. Additionally, with recession concerns mounting, moving from a limited-edition luxury product to a more affordable one seems like a timely strategic move.

With the Lightyear 2, the company is targeting a very different (and broader) market compared to the first model, which was intended primarily as a technology demonstrator to be produced in limited quantities.

light year 2Preview of Lightyear 2. Photo credit: Lightyear

The new five-seater hatchback with a promised range of 800 km and 50% lower emissions compared to conventional electric vehicles was announced at this year’s CES. While the company hasn’t revealed many details yet, it said the vehicle will “inherit everything from [the 0’s] Innovations at a fraction of the market price.”

According to CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot, the new model already has 40,000 waiting list subscriptions from individual customers and 20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners.

“We hope to make some important investments in the coming weeks to upgrade to the Lightyear 2, an affordable solar electric vehicle that will be available to a wider audience,” he added.

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