Solar EV startup Lightyear has announced that Atlas Technologies, its operating company responsible for the production of solar cars, has been declared insolvent by a Dutch court.
Obviously, this spells uncertainty for the future of Lightyear, which announced a week ago that production of the Lightyear 0 was suspended six weeks after it started. The company said it would focus on a much cheaper solar EV, the Lightyear 2, due to launch in 2025.
The startup said on January 23 that it had to submit the request for "the opening of suspension of payment proceedings with respect to Atlas Technologies B.V."
The suspension has been granted by Rechtbank Oost-Brabant located in 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands. "Today this court declared Atlas Technologies B.V. bankrupt. The court appointed Mr. R. van Oeijen from Holla legal & tax as trustee," Lightyear said in a short statement.
The company did not offer much hope for the continuation of the Lightyear project judging by the phrasing of the release.
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"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. In the coming period the trustee will focus on the position of the employees and creditors as well as assessing how the Lightyear concept can be continued."
While the bankruptcy proceedings formally affect only the manufacturing company and not the parent company Atlas Technologies Holding, which owns Lightyear's intellectual property, the future of Lightyear solar EVs appears uncertain.
According to Electrive citing posts on LinkedIn, some Lightyear employees are already preparing for the end of the startup and looking for new jobs on the employment-focused social media platform.
The Lightyear 2, which was teased at CES 2023 earlier this month, is scheduled to debut in 2025, which means development is not yet complete. Obviously, Lightyear will need a lot of money to fully develop it and bring it to market.
Said to start at $40,000 in the US, the Lightyear 2 is claimed to have racked up more than 21,000 pre-orders from fleet operators and 40,000 from private customers. That said, any discussion about the Lightyear 2 seems premature now at best.