Solar electric vehicle startup Lightyear has announced that it is suspending production of its high-end Lightyear 0 model and shifting its focus to bringing the more affordable Lightyear 2 to market by 2025.
The company had previously revealed that production of the Lightyear 0 had begun and that vehicles were being assembled at a rate of one per week, but now says that a “strategic restructuring” has led to the suspension of production.
CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear, Lex Hoefsloot, explained that “unfortunately we had to make this decision. The whole process of developing Lightyear 0 has provided our company many valuable learnings over the past years. We are now redirecting all our energy towards building Lightyear 2 in order to make it available to clients on schedule.”
The Lightyear 0 is a high-end vehicle, with a starting price of €250,000 ($264,000), but it boasts impressive technical capabilities, including a range of up to 625 kilometers (388 miles) using a 60 kWh battery pack.
Its unique feature is a large solar array that covers most of the upward-facing surfaces of the vehicle, which is capable of adding up to 70 km (44 mi) of free range per day under ideal conditions, and helps to keep the battery charged even in less than ideal conditions.
Despite its impressive specs, the high cost of the Lightyear 0 likely limited its popularity. However, the company’s upcoming model, the Lightyear 2, aims to offer similar innovations at a more affordable price point, with a starting price that is far more reasonable. The Lightyear 2 will also rely on solar power for additional range and is expected to have a real-world driving range of up to 800 km (497 mi).
The design of the Lightyear 2 has been previewed in teaser images, and it appears to have a similar aesthetic to the Lightyear 0, but with a taller profile and increased ground clearance.