After shipping its first solar EV only weeks ago, Dutch automaker Lightyear has announced that it's suspending production of that model (called the 0) to focus on the more affordable Lightyear 2. It made the move after opening a waitlist for the Lightyear 2 that generated more than 40,000 subscriptions on top of the existing 20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners.
"In order to safeguard our vision, we had to decide to redirect our focus and resources completely towards Lightyear 2," the company wrote in a press release. "This means in effect that we had to suspend the production of Lightyear 0." The company didn't provide a timeline for Lightyear 2 production or other details.
The news does raise concerns about the company's financial situation. Lightyear said it submitted a request "to open suspension of payment proceedings" in relation to its operating company responsible for producing the Lightyear 0. (Companies in The Netherlands can request to have debts frozen for 18 months to buy time to reorganize, according to TechCrunch.) The company said it hopes to "conclude some key investments in the coming weeks in order to scale up to the Lightyear 2."
The Lightyear 0 costs nearly $300,000 and was designed to produced in limited quantities, much like the Polestar 1. On the other hand, the Lightyear 2 will cost around $40,000, according to the company. It's supposed to have up to 500 miles of range, aided by its solar panels, but the company has yet to reveal other details or show complete images of the vehicle.
The concept of both EVs is the same. The car’s solar panels can provide up to 44 miles of range on a sunny day, meaning drivers with relatively short commutes may rarely need to charge their vehicles. For longer distances, the vehicles have battery packs that provide nearly 400 miles of extra range, in the case of the Lightyear 0. That's also aided by very slippery aerodynamic profiles.