Dutch startup Lightyear on Tuesday announced a roughly $80 million investment the firm said will help spur development of a mass-market solar-assisted electric car.
Lightyear in June revealed that in production form its Lightyear One will be instead called Lightyear 0. That model already incorporates game-changing aero and specially developed Bridgestone tires to maximize efficiency, and integrated solar panels to lessen the need for charging.
The Lightyear 0 will be made by Finland’s Valmet Automotive, and is still on track to start production this fall, the startup said in a press release. But Lightyear is only planning a limited production run of 150 cars, each with a roughly $260,000 price tag.
The planned second model, dubbed Lightyear 2, will have a starting price equivalent to about $30,000, according to the release. Production isn’t scheduled to start until 2025, but Lightyear already claims to have 10,000 reservations from leasing and car-sharing firms LeasePlan and MyWheels, which have reserved 5,000 cars each.
The latest investment, led by Invest-NL, the national promotional institution (NPI) of the Netherlands, and other government entities, will fund continued development of the 2, Lightyear said. Funds will also be used for a planned international expansion, according to the startup. Lightyear hasn’t confirmed plans to enter the United States market, however.
An investment from Swedish supercar builder Koenigsegg will also reportedly help provide an efficiency boost and tech for the Lightyear 2, which may also get subscription options to increase affordability. Lightyear hasn’t said where the follow-up model will be built however. It doesn’t have a factory, so it will likely need to either expand its partnership with Valmet or seek another contract manufacturer.
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