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Friday, February 3, 2023

Lightyear Has Stopped Production On Its Solar-powered EV After Three Months

The company said it had not taken the decision lightly, given how it would affect its employees as well as “investors, customers, suppliers and governments”. It could also have implications for Valmet Automotive, Company Light Year Signing Build 0 (and which announced possible layoffs at the factory responsible for building the cars earlier this month). As for why Lightyear decided to discontinue production, the company was vague – it said it had faced some challenges in the past few months and the move was to “maintain our vision”.

Lightyear also said it asked the court to begin a “suspended payment process” against the company responsible for manufacturing Lightyear 0; its corporate structure includes a holding company and another organization.

Released in 2019, the Lightyear 0 was originally a flagship model (its price is obvious), theoretically capable of 44 miles of range on solar power from just 5 square meters of panels. This is uncommon for electric vehicles. The Lightyear 0 is one of the first to go into production with solar power capability, though it’s unclear how many the company ended up actually producing. Its original plan was to produce 946s.

light years 2, Announced at this year’s CES, for a completely different market, and the company says it will “inherit all the innovations of Lightyear 0 at a fraction of the market price.” It already has “20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners,” according to Monday’s announcement. According to CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot quoted in the press release, developing 0 provided the company with “a lot of valuable learnings from the past few years” that will be used when manufacturing 2.

Having said that, it’s hard to say if the 0 has really proven itself, as only a handful were likely built.

Lightyear did not respond immediately edgeComment was requested on what will happen to any Lightyear 0 produced or whether its restructuring plans involve layoffs. Another question mark is how the company plans to fund the work on Lightyear 2.

No longer selling nearly a thousand ultra-expensive cars will almost certainly require a change of plans. The company says it hopes to “complete some key investments in the coming weeks to expand to Lightyear 2,” but I wonder if this news will affect those plans.

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