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London Tech Week

Lightyear zips €81M: World’s first long-range solar car and Tesla’s Dutch rival to hit the road later this year

Lightyear funding
Image credits: Lightyear

While some startups are developing solar-powered aircrafts, Netherland’s proud and Dutch answer to Tesla — Lightyear is working on the world’s first long-range solar car. Today, the Helmond-based motor startup has announced to have raised €81 million in additional funding.

This round includes capital from the public consortium consisting of state-run Invest-NL, an impact investor, which is co-leading the consortium with other regional development agencies including the province of North Brabant, BOM, and LIOF. It also saw additional investments from new private funds and follow-up investments from SHV and DELA. The announcement comes a month after Swedish hypercar manufacturer Koenigsegg’s investment in Lightyear.

Lightyear 0 to hit the road in 2022?

Lightyear will use the latest investment for its first car, the Lightyear 0, to hit the road in 2022, earning it the title of the world’s first commercially sold solar-powered car. The model will be priced at €250K and should be on sale across Europe.

Further, the funding will also be used to develop their second vehicle, Lightyear 2, which will be a more affordable model than the first one, with a starting price of €30,000. Lightyear 2 is expected to go into production by 2025 and has 10,000 reservations from leasing and car-sharing companies such as LeasePlan and MyWheels.

“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,” said Rinke Zonneveld, CEO at Invest-NL. “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.”

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 caliber as a testament to Lightyear’s product vision. Thanks to the support of Invest-NL, the entire consortium, and our other investors and strategic partners, Lightyear is well positioned and remains on track to deliver the world’s first solar car and work towards a more sustainable future.”

World’s first long-range solar car

Founded in 2016 by Arjo van der Ham, Koen van Ham, Lex Hoefsloot, Martijn Lammers, and Qurein Biewenga, Lightyear is developing an ultra-energy-efficient automotive platform

The company’s product, the world’s first solar car, Lightyear 0 features five square meters of patented, double-curved solar arrays. It allows the vehicle to charge itself while commuting or simply parked outdoors, relieving drivers of charging station dependency and offloading a congested grid.

Lightyear 0 can run for 725km, with 70km of that coming from solar and the rest from electric charging. But using the sun as a power source means the Lightyear 0 can be driven for weeks or months without needing to charge the battery — depending on the distance you drive each day. For a daily commute of 35 kilometers in a sunny country, the car won’t need charging for up to seven months.

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