Lightyear 2 Solar Car Makes Its First Appearance in Official Teaser Images

Lightyear is proving to be a surprising startup. Production of the Lightyear 0 started in Finland in December, and it will release the Lightyear 2 waitlist on January 5. What we did not expect was to see the first images of the company’s affordable solar car so soon. The last time the company talked about it, it should arrive by 2025 and cost around €30,000 ($31,858.50 at the current exchange rate).
Lightyear 2 already has a waitlist, but some things have changed 6 photos
Photo: Lightyear
Lightyear 2 already has a waitlist, but some things have changedLightyear 2 already has a waitlist, but some things have changedLightyear 2 already has a waitlist, but some things have changedLightyear 2 already has a waitlist, but some things have changedLightyear 2 already has a waitlist, but some things have changed
The waitlist page changed that a bit. There is no word about when the Lightyear 2 will arrive, but the Dutch startup first said it would be in 2024 and then postponed it to 2025. The target price has increased substantially: around €40,000 ($42,438), a 33.3% increase compared to the first price estimate Lightyear disclosed. On the other hand, the startup now talks about an 800-kilometer (497-mile) range for its second solar car. It did not talk about dimensions.

As you can see in the gallery above, the Lightyear 2 will look like a smaller Lightyear 0. It has compact external rear-view mirrors, which is probably more affordable than the cameras the Lightyear 0 adopted. The solar car for the masses also has a “power outlet” under the right rear-view mirror, making us wonder if it has a charging port on the left side. Is this power outlet Lightyear’s suggestion for a V2L (vehicle-to-load) solution?

The door handles also caught our attention: they are on the edge of the doors – not inside them – and look like holes. That does not seem exactly aerodynamic. Considering how much Lightyear worries about efficiency, there is probably a reasonable explanation for that format. The wheels look very different from those on the company’s flagship.

That is a very different story from what the Sono Sion is experiencing, possibly because Sono Motors decided to jump into the affordable solar car boat before it proved its manufacturing and planning skills with another vehicle. It could have worked if Sono had enough financial reserves or an investor willing to put as much money into the idea as needed. However, what we have seen is that the German startup is now doing a campaign to have at least 3,500 units of the Sono Sion fully paid for to keep developing the solar hatchback.

On December 28, Sono sold 1,224 units of the Sion, but the way it was counting the money gave us the impression that it was adding up all deposits to reach its financial goal. The current number is 1,315.8 – mind the fraction. At first, it seemed it was asking reservation holders to fully pay for their cars. Sono said it would use that information to prove the car had devoted fans, which could make it easier for investors to fund the rest of the development. Lightyear does not seem concerned with funding. At the same time, we have no idea how many Lightyear 0 units have already been sold.

The Dutch startup will certainly warn us when all 946 units of its flagship have found buyers. With each of them starting at €250,000 ($265,237.50), that will represent a cash injection of €236.5 million ($250.9 million), but production costs have to be discounted for us to have any fair idea of how profitable these solar sedans were. Selling a car for €30,000 with profits will demand a massive manufacturing infrastructure, and it will take time for all investments to pay off. This is probably what is holding back Sono Sion in the first place.

Regardless of Lightyear’s plans to get there, the Lightyear 2 is here, even if in just a tiny glimpse of the whole thing. Expect the Dutch company to reveal more bits of its affordable solar car soon.

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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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