In September 2022, we headlined, about the Lightyear solar car, “Will the mass production of the Lightyear solar car really see the light of day? ” Five months later, this question remains relevant.
First warning shot on January 24th. The Dutch start-up Lightyear announced the end of mass production of the Lightyear 0, the first solar car. Manufactured under contract – at the rate of a single unit per week – by the Finnish Valmet Automotive, the Lightyear 0 exists in only one copy. The company does not specify how ex-customers who have already paid the €250,000 cost of the Lightyear 0 will be treated.
During this announcement, the start-up also mentioned its request to a Dutch court to suspend payments to Atlas Technologies, the operating company responsible for the production of the Lightyear 0. This is a subsidiary of the parent company Atlas Technologies Holding, official owner of the intellectual property rights of the Lightyear.
The company explains that “This decision was not taken lightly, as it impacts everyone who has embarked on this journey with us. These are of course our own employees, who work day in and day out to make solar mobility a reality, alongside our investors, customers, suppliers and the government.”
Second warning shot on January 27 with the insolvency of the Atlas Technologies subsidiary pronounced by a Dutch court which appointed a judicial administrator. He will have the difficult task of examining “how the Lightyear concept can be continued”.
Lightyear delivered a press release in which the start-up “regrets having to make this announcement for all employees, customers, investors and suppliers and will work closely with the trustee and all involved and hope for their understanding and support”.
The Electrive site reports the ambient pessimism of certain Lightyear employees, on the LinkedIn professional network, who are already preparing for the closure of their start-up.
Although not fully developed, the Lightyear 2, estimated at €40,000, has already received no less than 21,000 orders from fleet companies. We can mention the 10,000 reservations of the lessor Arval and the 5,000 of the leasing company LeasePlan. Added to this are the 40,000 pre-orders from individuals. This second Lightyear, produced jointly with Koenigsegg, a Swedish manufacturer specializing in hypersports, is not expected before 2024-2025.
This bad news for electromobility comes after that concerning the French start-up Hopium. The French manufacturer of fuel cell electric cars has announced layoffs following the loss of 9.5 million euros in the first half of 2022. Hopium is seeking funds (around 200 million over the next three years) in order to to be able to start production of the Machina, a luxury sedan with 500 horsepower and a range of 1,000 km. The first Hopium was expected from 2025 (source The world).
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