Lightyear is a startup known for developing expensive solar cars. Recently it has announced its 2nd vehicle which is comparatively less expensive, a 34,000 dollar solar electric car. Lightyear was started by a group of engineering students from the Technical University of Eindhoven. They had been competing in the World Solar Challenge with their energy positive solar cars -Stella and Stella Lux. This means that they can produce more energy than they consume.
After having a successful competition, the engineers had created Lightyear to try to commercialize their solar electric car. In 2019, the group unveiled the Lightyear One, which is an eclectic sedan integrated with solar cells. The car can push a range of 450 miles based on the WLTP cycles.
However, the Lightyear One does not fall in the affordability range. The company had announced a starting price of €149,000 including VAT ($170,000 USD). In 2021, the company has secured $110 million in funding to bring the vehicle to market next year.
In the last month of 2021, the company had announced a deal with LeasePlan. It is a Car-as-a-Service company which will reserve 5000 cars of Lightyear’s second model. The car is expected to go into production by 2024-2025. The company has not released many details about this new vehicle to come after the Lightyear One. Although it had been confirmed to launch in Europe and North America, it should start at around €30,000 (the equivalent of $33,779).
Lightyear aims to use the knowledge which is acquired by building the expensive and low-volume production Lightyear One to develop Lightyear Two, which is a higher-volume production and less-expensive solar car. It is clear that Lightyear wants to focus on aerodynamic and efficient designs with embedded solar cells to push the range even more.