light yeara Dutch startup developing a solar-powered hybrid car announced today that it has raised €81 million ($81 million) as it prepares to start production of its first vehicle in the coming months.
While recent history is littered with prototype examples solar powered vehiclesthe burgeoning movement of electric cars has so far been mainly limited to cars that need to be connected to the grid for charging, or hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) that recharge themselves while driving. However, a number of companies are pushing to make solar-powered cars a mass-market reality, such as Germany’s Sono Motors, which recently unveiled the final production design of its inaugural solar-powered electric car, expected to be launched sometime in 2023. launched. And Lightyear, a six-year-old startup that debuted its prototype in 2019, had previously… collected more than $100 million in funding.
The introduction of solar charging in the fight against electric vehicles actually solves two problems in one: drivers don’t have to worry so much about where the nearest charging station is, because the car can recharge itself while driving or parked. And cars can travel farther without plugging in, with Lightyear promising a range of more than 600 miles on a single charge. Of course, this is highly dependent on individual driving habits, as well as the time of year, as sunlight is crucial. But someone who only drives 20 or so miles a day might be able to drive an entire summer without plugging their car into the grid, depending entirely on the charge they get from the sun each day.
The intention is that Lightyear will start production of its Lightyear 0 (formerly Lightyear One) next autumn, which will cost potential buyers no less than € 250,000. At the same time, Lightyear is also already working on its successor, the Lightyear 2, the full mass-market model that will weigh a more affordable €30,000 – it is expected to enter production in 2025.
Lightyear’s latest cash injection involves capital from a public consortium of lenders, including Invest-NL, an investment firm established by the Ministry of Finance in 2020and private funds from SHV and Dela, among others.
“In today’s market environment, our technology has incredible potential for positive societal impact, so I see investments of this caliber as a testament to Lightyear’s product vision,” said Lightyear CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot in a statement. “[Lightyear] remains on track to deliver the world’s first solar car and work towards a more sustainable future.”