Dutch solar electric vehicle maker Lightyear says it will bring its first car to market at the end of this year following a $A48 million injection of capital.
The Lightyear One, as the first model is called, differs from ordinary EVs in that it has built-in solar panels, which the company says add an extra 12 kilometres of range for every hour they are in use. This means that, in sunny areas, the car can be used sporadically for long periods without being plugged into an external electricity supply.
The company says the Lightyear One will have an “exceptional” range of up to 725 kilometres thanks to the built-in solar panels. It says it will be able to recharge from its own solar roof “up to 80 per cent of the annual yield for an average driver in San Francisco”.
However, the company, which is based in the Automotive Campus in the Brainport Eindhoven region in the Netherlands, has not yet signed up a production partner – though it said it was “final stages” of picking one.
The equity raising was led by Swiss family office Zero Point Holding B.V. Lightyear plans to raise further capital later in the year.
“This funding round will help us accelerate towards the first deliveries at the end of the year.” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear. “We are grateful for the support of all the individual investors and happy to welcome them as ambassadors to our mission.”
The company was founded in 2016 and launched its first prototype in 2019, with funding help from the European Commission.
James Fernyhough is a reporter at RenewEconomy and The Driven. He has worked at The Australian Financial Review and the Financial Times, and is interested in all things related to climate change and the transition to a low-carbon economy.