Last week, Dutch startup Lightyear teased its upcoming mass-production solar EV, the Lightyear 2, at CES 2023.
Looking at the teaser images that showed a similar-looking vehicle to the Lightyear 0 that recently entered limited production in Finland, we were intrigued by the company's claim that the Lightyear 2 will cost under $40,000 in North America when it enters production by the end of 2025.
That's because the Lightyear 0, the company's first production vehicle, costs an eye-watering €250,000 ($268,000) in Europe – before taxes. We reached out to Lightyear for clarifications and here's what we learned from Lex Hoefsloot, the company's CEO and co-founder.
Despite the massive price difference that would suggest the Lightyear 2 is a smaller vehicle, it's actually a bigger car than the Lightyear 0. "Lightyear 2 is slightly larger, with room for 5 and ample luggage room. Lightyear 2 is more geared as a family car," Hoefsloot told InsideEVs via email.
Mind you, the huge price difference between the two models is explained by the fact the Lightyear 2 is a mass-market model that brings the Lightyear 0 technology to a much wider audience.
Gallery: 2025 Lightyear 2 First Teasers
"The main differences between Lightyear 0 and Lightyear 2 are price, production, and space. With Lightyear 0, there is limited production and it is only available in the EU, UK, Norway, and Switzerland. Lightyear 2 is the mass market model which brings the Lightyear 0 technology to the mass market to the EU, UK, US, at a price point below $40,000."
When it comes to pricing, Lightyear's CEO explained that the Lightyear 0 costs that much because it has been designed for limited production and is bespoke-made. We insisted on learning more about how Lightyear believes it will be able to drive the price down to $40,000, and he admitted that many things could affect the Lightyear 2's price by the end of 2025 when production is expected to begin.
"We stand by our company's mission to make clean mobility accessible to everyone, everywhere. Like all companies reliant on external supply chains, Lightyear is not impervious to the fluctuations in inflation and rising costs of raw materials. There is a possibility that this could impact the launch price of Lightyear 2, but we stand by our promise that this model will have a more accessible price point than competing vehicles."
Asked about the production target for the Lightyear 2, Hoefsloot only said the company has 21,000 pre-orders from international leasing and ride sharing partners. He would not say where Lightyear plans to build the Lightyear 2 either, noting that while the company has strong relationships with a number of manufacturers, it "has no further details to share on that right now."
As for preorders, Lightyear expects to start taking them by the middle of this year. Customers in the US, UK and EU can already join a waitlist that will allow them to get notified once pre-orders open and get priority in preordering and reserving the first production slots.