With this radical and surprising decision, it is already the end for the first solar electric car

Dutch solar car maker Lightyear has just stopped production of its large sedan, the 0, which started in December 2022. The brand wants to focus on its more affordable model, the Lightyear 2, which will be launched in early January 2023.

Light year 0

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If you follow automotive news closely, you probably haven’t missed Lightyear, a Dutch manufacturer specializing in solar-powered electric cars.

We’ve already been able to drive their first model, the Lightyear 0. Production of this large sedan has also recently started at the Valmet Automotive plant in Finland.

But the manufacturer published a rather surprising press release about it Lightyear 0 had already been discontinued.

The decision to prefer another product

This announcement is surprising to say the least, but the reason is pretty obvious. In fact, in early January, Lightyear announced the arrival of the 2, a more affordable model than the 0 with nearly identical features. 2 is indeed promised Less than €40,000 in Europe (excluding taxes, ie €48,000 including tax) with record autonomy at this price, about 800 km.

Asking around €300,000 for the Lightyear 0 and limited to just 1,000 units, this model is out of reach for all budgets.

The first “official” rendering of the upcoming Lightyear 2 // Source: Lightyear

Obviously, at this price point, just below the Tesla Model 3, customers were flocking to the door. Reservations for Lightyear 2 started in 2023, and the manufacturer claims to have received it 40,000 inquiries from individual customers and approximately 20,000 inquiries from fleets Through several international rental and car sharing partners such as LeasePlan, MyWheels, Arval and Athlon.

Faced with this strong demand, Lightyear decided attention and resources 2. Therefore, production of the 0 has been discontinued for the time being, even if the brand did not mention the cancellation in its press release.

On the other hand, customers ordering around €300,000 per car probably won’t be happy to hear the news…unless they’ve opted to refocus on the Lightyear 2. which is 7.5 times cheaper than 0probably with similar technologies.

Lightyear 2, little 0?

The rest of Lightyear 0’s career seems well understood, but this model will not be in vain, as it will be an excellent rolling laboratory for the democratization of technology. That’s why Lightyear 2 will owe a lot to him, even if it’s a lesser generation.

Lightyear hasn’t released the technical details of the 2 yet, but we should have some answers for the Lightyear 0 using the numbers. Lightyear 0 is equipped with several solar panels on the roof that can produce about 1 kWh of electricity. This is roughly equal 70 kilometers of autonomy per day in good sunlight conditions.

The car has a 60 kWh battery and can travel 625 kilometers According to the WLTP cycle. The brand explains that it is possible to travel up to 520 kilometers in one hour on a 50 kW fast terminal. As you can see, in general, the term “solar car” is somewhat usurped, because it is more of an electric car with solar panels added.

Other manufacturers like Aptera and its very interesting Sono Motors Sion, a solar car with a claimed range of 1,000 km or more traditional in styling but with a starting price under €30,000, play on this card a lot.

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