Solar-Powered Carmaker Lightyear Raises $81M And Gears Up For Production
Lightyear is an Dutch company that is working on a long-range, hybrid solar-powered carmaker has announced today that the company has taken in EUR81 million ($81 million) in preparation to begin manufacturing its first vehicle in the next few months.
Although there are many examples of prototype Solar-powered carmaker cars in recent history, electric cars have been limited to vehicles that must be plugged into a grid to charge or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) which can self-charge while they drive. As it prepares for the production of its first vehicle, makeLightyear, a Dutch startup that is developing a long-range hybrid Solar powered carmaker, has announced today that it has raised EUR81million ($81 million). Sono Motors in Germany recently unveiled the final production design for its first solar-powered vehicle. It is expected to go on sale sometime in 2023. Lightyear, a startup that has been around for six years and debuted its prototype in 2019, had raised over $100 million in funding. The introduction of solar-charging into the electric vehicle market solves two problems. Drivers don’t need to worry about finding the closest charging station, and the car can charge itself while it is moving or parked. Lightyear promises that cars can travel more without needing to charge up. Lightyear claims that cars can go over 600 miles with a single full-charge. It is dependent on driving habits and the time of year. Sunlight is crucial. A person who drives 20 miles per day might be able drive for a whole summer, without having to plug their car into the grid. This is because the car gets its energy from the sun.
Lightyear stated that the vehicle could potentially run for 40 miles per day in ideal conditions. This is in addition to the power it gets from being connected to the grid. Lightyear will begin production of the Lightyear Zero (previously Lightyear One) car in the fall. It is expected to cost prospective buyers EUR250,000. The company has already sold 150 vehicles and has the capacity to make nearly 1,000 more. This is a clear indication that the first product is more of a demonstration of technology than anything else. Lightyear’s head for PR and communication Rachel Richardson explained to TechCrunch that Lightyear 0 was intended as a demonstration vehicle. The first car will be limited in production and will not be shipped outside the European Union,, Norway, and Switzerland. Lightyear is also developing the Lightyear 2, which will be its full-sized mass-market model. It weighs in at EUR30,000 and will be made available in the U.S.A, U.K., Asia and other markets. We are moving closer to a world in which Solar-powered carmaker cars are a reality, at least for a portion of the time. However, we may still be a few years away before we see this possibility on streets around the world. Richardson said that the consumer will only be able to adopt it if it is financially and geographically accessible. The industry must be confident in the technology’s viability to make it scale. With Lightyear 0, we want to prove that clean mobility is possible and is available. Lightyear’s latest cash injection included capital from a public consortium of investors that includes Invest-NL (an investment company established by the Dutch Ministry of Finance in 2020) and private funds from Dela and SHV. Lightyear CEO and cofounder Lex Hoefsloot stated in a statement that the technology had tremendous potential to have a positive impact on society. “[Lightyear] continues to be on track to deliver the first solar car in the world and work towards a more sustainable tomorrow.”