Solar car startup lands €81m to drive future of green mobility
Long-range, solar-powered EVs could soon be on the road if plans from a Dutch startup pan out.
With backing from a consortium of public investors anchored by Invest-NL, Lightyear will start production on its first high-end model, Lightyear 0, this autumn.
Solar panels line the body of the car, giving it up to 70km (43 miles) of extra daily range – though this varies depending on the weather. The quoted practical range is more than 1,000km during the summer, based on a 50km workday commute. On highways, Lightyear expects it to have a range of 560km.
Though designed as a premium car – an order on the Lightyear website starts at €250,000 – Lightyear 0 will lead the way for a mass-market successor, the Lightyear 2, which has a starting price of €30,000.
The company plans to release the Lightyear 2 by 2025.
Lightyear raised €81m in its latest fundraise. Last year, the startup reported that it had raised €93m between January and September 2021.
Backing for the project reflects both the rising demand for EVs and international regulatory pressure to cut carbon emissions.
For example, in the UK, the sale of new fossil fuel cars will be banned from 2030. A similar ban is expected to come into effect across the EU in 2035.
Role of developers
Cities will have to adapt to these forthcoming bans with appropriate infrastructure. The International Energy Agency has estimated the number of public chargers globally will have to rise more than nine-fold to 15m to meet expected demand in 2030.
That estimate also assumes that charging at home and the workplace will meet most of the demand for charging EVs. In other words, commercial and residential developers have a critical role to play in delivering the infrastructure needed for clean mobility.
This summer, the UK government introduced new legislation that requires newbuild homes, workplaces, supermarkets and buildings undergoing major renovations to have charging points installed.
Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear, said, “In the current market environment, our technology has incredible potential for positive societal influence, so I see investments of this calibre as a testament to Lightyear’s product vision.”
Rinke Zonneveld, CEO at Invest-NL, said: “Lightyear has been making consistent progress since its founding and holds a promising future for the development of an innovative solar eco-system in the Netherlands.
“Their technology, strategic partnerships and acumen fit perfectly with Invest-NL’s ambition to co-create new tech-driven market and business opportunities, and we look forward to supporting their growth from Dutch scale-up to global OEM [original equipment manufacturer].”