Dutch EV startup Lightyear has announced raising $110 million (€93 million) in funding in 2021 to date.
The most significant investments were made by insurer Cooperation DELA and private investor Joop van Caldenborgh, both from the Netherlands. The company says that these funds will ensure continued development and production of its One long-range solar EV.
Lightyear will also use part of the money to expand its operations, as it is currently exploring the opening of new office and development locations in the Netherlands (Amsterdam and Utrecht), Germany, and the United Kingdom.
“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. 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.”
Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and cofounder of Lightyear
Gallery: Lightyear One prototype
Mind you, the Lightyear One will be available from 2022 as a low-volume, exclusive first series with a starting price of €150,000 ($176,000), excluding taxes. Only 946 units will be made from summer 2022 by Valmet Automotive in Finland for sale in the EU, Norway, and Switzerland.
As for the mass-market variant, it is planned to go into production in 2024. To make that possible, Lightyear says it is currently exploring several options (both public and private) for further fundraising.
The Lightyear One is an ambitious project that targets a driving range of 725 kilometers (450 miles) WLTP on a single battery charge. It features solar panels that cover a total area of 5 square meters (53.8 sq ft), recharging the battery enough to unlock 12 km (7.5 miles) of additional range every hour.
The EV packs four electric motors that offer all-wheel drive with advanced torque vectoring. However, acceleration is not the One’s main focus—it goes from zero to 100 km/h in less than 10 seconds.