Lights go out on pioneering Dutch solar-driven car Lightyear

By dpa | 6 February 2023

AMSTERDAM: The innovative Lightyear solar-powered EV from the Netherlands was billed as "the car you don't have to charge for months," yet only two months after production started, the company has filed for bankruptcy.

Production of the five-door Lightyear priced at €250,000 (RM1.2mil) had begun at Valmet Automotive in Finland in December last year and has now been halted, with only a few cars built.

The end came as statement on the firm's website late in January, saying the company's request for bankruptcy had been approved by a court in the Netherlands.

"Lightyear regrets having to make this announcement for all employees, customers, investors and suppliers and will work closely with the curator and all the people who are involved and hope for their understanding and support." The company employs around 100 people"

Trustees said said the plan was to concentrate fully on the Lightyear 2 - a more affordable Tesla-rivalling model for the mass market, which was due in 2025.

While battery-electric cars from start-ups are nothing new, Lightyear's first model was ambitious. The company claimed that depending on location, the Lightyear should be able to drive for weeks or even months without recharging.

According to the manufacturer, the pure battery range is up to 625km in the WLTP cycle. A maximum range of 70km per day can be recharged by the sun.

With its four hub electric motors and sensationally slippery shape penned by a Turin design studio, the Lightyear was brimming with innovation.

Solar panels were mounted on the bonnet, roof and the boot of the car, adding up to five square metres in all, with a peak power delivery of 1,250 watts.

The purist, high-tech interior was also branded as vegan through the use of sustainable materials

The luggage compartment was big enough to swallow up a surfboard as shown to motoring journalists from the Auto Motor und Sport magazine by CEO Lex Hoefsloot before the company officially foundered.

They were impressed by the car but one remarked prophetically: "The question remains how a 28-year-old CEO manages to get a company with 100 employees off the ground that has raised over €15 million and wants to build a car that no one has ever built before".