In a surprise announcement, Dutch solar vehicle maker, Lightyear announced that it has halted the production of Lightyear 0, a €250K solar EV, and is now focusing on the production of a much cheaper ‘Lightyear 2’ model.
Talking about the move, the company released a statement saying, ‘To safeguard our vision, we had to decide to redirect our focus and resources completely towards Lightyear 2. This means in effect that we had to suspend the production of Lightyear 0.’ the statement continued by stating that ‘Lightyear is strategically transitioning from producing its first solar electric car model, Lightyear 0, to the design and production of its mass-market model, Lightyear 2.”
This move was taken by considering the recent market challenges, including rising recession fears and other macroeconomic factors like semiconductor shortages and rising costs of production materials due to inflation. The news also raises concerns about the company’s financial health because recently the company submitted a request for the opening of suspension of payment proceedings concerning Atlas Technologies B.V., the operating company responsible for the production of Lightyear.
Additionally, the company is facing stiff competition from well-established automotive giants like Tesla and Ford, who are investing heavily in electric vehicles and have the resources to overcome production hurdles.
But not all hope is lost. The new ‘Lightyear 2’ model with a target starting price of around €40K has generated quite a buzz. The company stated, ‘Recently, we launched a waitlist for Lightyear 2, resulting in more than 40,000 subscriptions of individual customers, and we already had approximately 20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners. We hope to conclude some key investments in the coming weeks to scale up to Lightyear 2, an affordable solar electric vehicle available for a wider audience.’
Needless to say, while 2022 brought many challenges, the release of ‘Lightyear 2’ looks promising.