Lightyear 0 Production Starts in Finland With Valmet Automotive

Lightyear 0 production starts in Finland 8 photos
Photo: Lightyear
Lightyear 0 production starts in FinlandLightyear 0 production starts in FinlandLightyear 0 production starts in FinlandLightyear 0 production starts in FinlandLightyear 0 production starts in FinlandLightyear 0 production starts in FinlandLightyear 0 production starts in Finland
Lightyear was expected to be the first company ever to deliver a production and road-legal solar car. That expectation was fulfilled on November 30, when the first Lightyear 0 left Valmet Automotive’s assembly lines. Curiously, the same Finnish company will also manufacture the Sono Sion starting in the second half of 2023.
Lightyear announced it would manufacture one unit of the Lightyear 0 per week until it scales up production in the first quarter of 2023. While that may seem quite a low pace, bear in mind that the Lightyear 0 will cost €250,000 ($260,925 at the current exchange rate) a pop. Besides, only 946 units will be manufactured.

If Valmet made 18 units per week, it would need only one year to deliver all Lightyear 0s it decided to make to keep them exclusive. The production pace should be much slower than that: we expect the Lightyear 0 production to end only when the Dutch company is ready to start manufacturing the Lightyear Two. The Dutch company’s mass-production model is expected to arrive only in 2025.

Lightyear released its master plan for solar cars in August 2022. It states that the Lightyear 0 will help it raise money to develop the Lightyear Two, a vehicle with pretty aggressive goals. It should cost €30,000 ($31,311) and deliver twice as much range as any other conventional electric car with the same battery pack.

At the time, we discussed how the low production numbers for the Lightyear 0 – despite the hefty price per unit – would not grant Lightyear the necessary amount of money to build its own factory. In other words, it would still need to hire a manufacturing contractor to sell its affordable solar car. Valmet Automotive is the leading candidate.

Could the Dutch company sell the Lightyear Two for the target price of €30,000 at a profit without its own factory? Fisker is trying to do that with the Fisker Ocean, but it starts at $37,999. Koenigsegg has associated with Lightyear, but we are not sure how the two companies will help each other.

Regardless of how Lightyear will make the Two, the good news here is that its flagship will soon head to the customers who purchased it. They will only have to be patient: at one unit per week, it may take a while for them to get their solar cars.
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About the author: Gustavo Henrique Ruffo
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Motoring writer since 1998, Gustavo wants to write relevant stories about cars and their shift to a sustainable future.
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