Lightyear, the Dutch company behind what it claims is the world’s first long-range solar car, has successfully raised $US110 million in funding in 2021, which the company will be using to further development and production of its Lightyear One solar powered car.
It’s already been a good for Lightyear, which was founded in 2016 to develop and produce the Lightyear One solar powered car, originally designed by the Solar Team Eindhoven from the Eindhoven University of Technology. See their latest product: Dutch students unveil solar powered mobile home capable of 730km a day
The resulting Lightyear One was revealed through various prototypes and designs through the subsequent years, winning a handful of design awards along the way.
In March, Lightyear successfully raised $US48 million which it declared would go towards delivering the first Lightyear One units by the end of the year. In July, Lightyear also announced that the Lightyear One would be built in Finland – a country, ironically, with one of the world’s lowest solar levels due to its northerly location.
Last month, Lightyear made headlines once again after it appointed former Google executive Wouter Vink as its new VP Marketing – a big name-grab for one of a number of new electric mobility companies vying for attention.
Most importantly, in July Lightyear revealed that its solar car prototype had driven 710-kilometres on a single charge. A prototype of the Lightyear One was driven at the Aldenhoven Testing Center in Germany at 53mph (85km/h) to complete a drive cycle on a single battery charge of 60kWh.
“After four years of hard work and in-house development, this is a very important engineering and technological milestone,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear. “It validates the performance of our patented technology and truly shows that we are able to deliver on our promise to introduce the most efficient electric vehicle.
“This prototype has over 440 miles of range with an energy consumption of only 137Wh/Mile at 53 miles an hour. Even the most efficient electric cars in the market today consume around 50% more energy at this relatively low speed. This milestone is a great confirmation of the scalability of our business model.
“We are confident that in the coming months, we will be able to reach a similar level of energy consumption at highway speed,” Hoefsloot added.
“Lowering the energy consumption per mile of an EV means that you can provide a lot of range on a small battery. Because batteries are the most expensive part of an EV, you can lower the purchase price of the car and achieve affordable electric cars with a lot of range that don’t need a lot of charging. Low-energy consuming cars can also benefit a lot more from adding solar cells to the car and gain about 45 miles of charge on a sunny day.”
In addition to the $US48 million the company successfully raised in March, Lightyear also signed a collaborative agreement in May with Dutch multinational SHV which was supported by a strategic €20 million ($US32 million) investment.
Last week, Lightyear revealed that it has now raised $US110 million so far in 2021, thanks not only to the aforementioned investments, but also several other investments made through the year.
Cooperation DELA, an international insurer and funeral organiser, made an investment, as did private investor Joop van Caldenborgh, a Dutch industrialist and entrepreneur, and one of the first SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) investors in the Netherlands.
“We are at the forefront of a historical market opportunity, by introducing the first cars on the market that charge their battery directly from the sun, completely free,” said Lex Hoefsloot.
“It is great to see the acknowledgement from investors, which is a testament to the confidence that they have in Lightyear. Thanks to the trust and funding received from our investors, we can further grow as a company and bring our Lightyear One exclusive model on the market in 2022.