This week, Lightyear suspended production of its Lightyear 0 solar EV, less than two months after production began. But it's not all bad news.
According to a recent blog post, the EV startup is undergoing a "strategic restructuring" after the company was surprised by interest for the more economical Lightyear 2.
The Dutch company created the Lightyear 0 to be the first production solar car in the world, but it came with a hefty price tag around $270,000, according to Electrek. At the same time, the company was working on the Lightyear 2, which, for less than $40,000, had a bit more mass appeal.
A few weeks ago, the company opened its waitlist for the Lightyear 2 and it has already grown to some 40,000 — potential buyers are intrigued by the vehicle’s “real life driving range” of more than 500 miles per charge. When combined with the 21,000 pre-orders the company already had from fleet owners, the demand forced Lightyear to make some hard choices. The company will have to retool and make production changes, but CEO and Co-Founder Lex Hoefsloot says his team will take what they learned from the 0's ramp up to make sure the 2s are delivered on time.
Production on the 2 wasn't scheduled to start until the end of 2025.
While Lightyear says this will be the best way forward in achieving the company’s vision to provide clean mobility for everyone, everywhere, the sudden shift has some industry insiders leery. According to Electrek, the startup's original strategy was to sell 946 Lightyear 0s at $270,000 a pop to help fund the Lightyear 2’s development and production. The sudden shift casts a shadow of doubt over the company’s future.