Less than a month after kicking off production of its flagship solar EV the 0, Lightyear has begun teasing images of its second, much more affordable model, the Lightyear 2. Following an announcement this morning, Lightyear has opened up its waitlist to pre-order the Lightyear 2, which will be sold in the US, UK, and Europe. It promises to deliver over 500 miles of range on a single charge with the help of our Sun and start at an MSRP below $40,000.
Lightyear is a Dutch solar EV company that we’ve been following for several years, due in part to its bold promises of extended range vehicles with sleek designs, but also at affordable pricing. The startup had long promised to deliver its Lightyear 0 to market, a solar electric sedan that inevitably arrived as the most aerodynamic production car ever made.
We got a chance it take the Lightyear 0 for a spin this past summer and were quite impressed with its design both inside and out. Lightyear began production of 946 planned units this past December at Valmet Automotive in Finland, forever solidifying its place in history as the first to bring a solar EV to market.
Although much of the public’s eye has been on the Lightyear 0 for the past four years, the company has been working behind the scenes to deliver its second model, the Lightyear 2. While its predecessor is a marvel to both the eyes and the spec sheet, it starts at an MSRP of $250,000 and has remained out of reach for most average and perhaps more affluent consumers.
Lightyear has been quite cognizant of this high price point and has urged fans of the company to “hold on.” As an encore to the Lightyear 0, the startup has been promising to deliver the Lightyear 2 in 2025, targeted around $30,000. Flush with new funding this past September, Lightyear relayed that it remained on track to deliver a consumer-friendly solar EV. Now that Lightyear 0 production is underway, it has turned its focus in bringing such a dream vehicle to reality.
I know what you’re thinking. Shaving over $200,000 off a vehicle design feels impossible, and in my multiple interactions with Lightyear co-founder and CEO Lex Hoefsloot this past year, I continued to pepper him with questions about the Lightyear 2 and its extremely alluring affordability, curious how they’ll be able to pull it off. Here’s what he told me in Finland this past December:
I think people will be amazed actually, by what is possible in high volume, because of course, the question we get the most, for good reason is “how the hell guys, do you get it from 250K (euros) to 30K?” What people underestimate about Lightyear 0 is that we focused so much on picking the technologies that are fundamentally scalable. That’s also puzzling to people why we can do it, but we’re really confident we can get to that price point.
Following today’s news, the Lightyear 2 should arrive at a bit higher price than originally promised, but if and when it joins the Lightyear 0 on roads, it has the makings to be a slam dunk in value. Check out some of the first images shared this morning.
Join the waitlist for the $40k Lightyear 2 now
According to a press release from Lightyear early this morning, the official waitlist for the Lightyear 2 is now open on the company website. By joining the waitlist, customers in the US, UK, and EU can remain in the know for updates surrounding the Lightyear 2, including being the first to submit an official pre-order.
Hoefsloot again spoke to the company’s next big step in bringing solar EVs to the masses, soon in markets around the globe:
Lightyear 2 will fast track our mission of delivering clean mobility to everyone, everywhere. This is the first EV that allows consumers to prioritize sustainability, without compromising on practicality. By harnessing the power of the sun, Lightyear 2 elevates the electric driving experience and reduces reliance on strained electricity grids. In fact, while Lightyear 2 vehicles require less charging from the electricity grid than a conventional EV, they also flip the script by providing clean energy back into the grid.
While the company is not sharing many details of the Lightyear 2’s performance just yet, it is promising to deliver over 500 miles (800 km) of range on a single charge, combining its battery power with the free daily energy from the Sun. As you can see in the images above, it fits the same design profile as the Lightyear 0, but in a more compact shape. Still it offers seating for five and the ground clearance of an SUV.
Despite this lack of details available to the public, the company says it already has 21,000 pre-orders of Lightyear 2 from international leasing and ride sharing partners like LeasePlan, MyWheels, Arval and Athlon. According to a spokesperson for the company, the planned mass market volume of Lightyear 2 production should provide enough for both the commercial partners and consumers alike, so those 21k reservations shouldn’t affect customers who pre-order their own personal SEV.
Lightyear is promising an update on its production partner alongside an overall production update. It is also promising to share a full design reveal this coming summer. You can join the Lightyear 2 waitlist here.
If this solar EV makes it to market, I’m in. While there are certainly less expensive EVs available on the market today, $40,000 is definitely a tough price point to get beneath and still sits as a relatively affordable number compared to other models.
This is especially true when you factor in the 500+ mile range and the capability to garner free miles from a ball of gas in the sky. Given that the Lightyear 2 is now being advertised around $40k instead of the originally promised price about $10k less, its clear that Lightyear has a better idea of its final design and supply chain and has faced reality. Even at a higher price, I think under $40k will be quite enticing to consumers, as long as it can stay around that number when production begins in 2025.
Top comment by MorinMoss
"I think under $40k will be quite enticing to consumers, as long as it can stay around that number when production begins in 2025"
Honestly I'd consider one of these but it's not going come to market at $40k anytime soon and 2025 is quite soon, relatively speaking
One of the things that impressed me most in talking to the team in Spain this past summer with the Lightyear 0 is the technology itself. Lightyear developed much of the tech including solar panels and motors in-house, and now that they’ve mastered it within the 0, they told me they are quite confident that they can scale it efficiently with the Lightyear 2. We as consumers should benefit.
It’s also exciting to see this model coming to the US, setting the stage for a head-to-head battle with California-based solar EV company Aptera. Both companies have been publicly supportive of one another for the good of solar EV adoption, and its exciting to day dream about the possibility of two, long-range range solar EVs becoming available to US consumers.
In visiting the Lightyear 0 assembly line at Valmet Automotive last month, it’s clear that Lightyear will need to significantly ramp up its footprint to support mass production. Whether that means more lines at Valmet or a second production partner is unclear, but the Lightyear is promising a production partner update in the near future.
Trust that I will keep you in the know, and as soon I can get in or near the Lightyear 2, you’ll be the first to see it. Until then.
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