While some startups are developing solar-powered aircrafts, Netherland’s proud and Dutch answer to Tesla — Lightyear is working on the world’s first long-range solar car. Today, the Helmond-based motor startup has announced to have raised €81 million in additional funding.
After Lightyear secured funding from Swedish carmaker Koenigsegg, other investors jumped on board. This included SHV and DELA, which added to the $170 million round of funding. More capital was added by a public consortium consisting of state-funded Invest-NL, Impact Finance and several regional development agencies. Additionally, BOM and North Brabant invested in this round of funding.
Lightyear 0 to hit the road in 2022?
Lightyear’s first car is called the Lightyear 0. It will be sold as the world’s first commercially sold solar-powered car; it will cost €250,000. The Lightyear 0 will hit the road in 2022 and be available for purchase across Europe.
Lightyear’s second vehicle, Lightyear 2, is expected to go into production by 2025. It will be cheaper than their first vehicle and will start at $30,000. Additionally, the funding from investors will be used to develop Lightyear 2; it already has 10,000 reservations from leasing and car-sharing companies such as LeasePlan and MyWheels.
According to Rinke Zonneveld, CEO of Invest-NL, Lightyear has impressed investors with its consistent progress since its inception. Its technology and strategic partnerships are seen as ideal for Invest-NL’s mission to create new markets and businesses with technological capabilities. As a result, they’re considered a strong candidate to become a global original equipment manufacturer.
Lex Hoefsloot is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Lightyear. He thanks Invest-NL and the entire Lightyear consortium for their support. Mr. Hoefsloot also praises the current market environment because he believes it provides a great opportunity for his company’s products to positively impact society. He also thinks that such a positive outlook is a testament to Lightyear’s product vision.
World’s first long-range solar car
Lightyear was co-founded in 2016 by Arjo van der Ham, Koen van Ham, Lex Hoefsloot, Martijn Lammers and Qurein Biewenga. Their mission is to design a ultra-energy-efficient automotive platform.
Lightyear 0 is the world’s first solar car. It has five square meters of double-curved solar panels that can charge itself without the need for a charging station. Additionally, parking the vehicle outdoors allows it to charge itself without congesting an already strained grid.
The Lightyear 0 can run for 725 kilometers on a single battery charge. 70 kilometers of that capacity comes from solar panels, and the rest is powered by electric charging. Because the car can run for weeks or even months without charging when powered by solar energy, it’s ideal for long-term driving in sunny areas. For drivers who commute 35 kilometers each day in a sunny region, the car won’t need to charge for up to seven months.