After more than two years of fundraising, prototype design, testing, and other prep work, Lightyear finally kicked off production on the Lightyear 0 in November 2022. The first solar-powered EV to actually come to fruition, the 0 charges on the go, collecting up to 70 kilometers (about 43 miles) of range each day from the sun. This enables the 0 to go months without having to be plugged in. Add a sharp, aerodynamic exterior and a clean interior, and you’ve got an impressive little car—the caveats being the slightly high $262,000 price tag, and that Lightyear hasn’t disclosed exactly how many 0s they sold to customers.
But the 0’s time on the assembly line has already come to a close. In a statement, Lightyear announced Monday that it’s halting production of the 0, including (it seems) those that have already been paid for. This will pave the way for the Lightyear 2’s commercial introduction.
“We first developed Lightyear 0…at the same time we developed Lightyear 2, the affordable solar electric vehicle available for a wider audience,” Lightyear said. “In order to safeguard our vision, we had to decide to redirect our focus and resources completely towards Lightyear 2. This means in effect that we had to suspend the production of Lightyear 0.”
The company goes on to say that Lightyear has petitioned to stop all payments between itself and its intellectual property and manufacturing entities. Drivers who were hoping to snag a Lightyear 0 in 2023 have abruptly and officially been dismissed: When you click the “Configure your Lightyear 0” link on the automaker’s website, you get an error 404.
In an eyebrow-raising reference to its current financial position, Lightyear said it’s hoping to “conclude some key investments in the coming weeks” as it shifts its focus toward the 2. The new model will bear a reasonable price tag ($40,000 base) while maintaining an impressive 500-mile single-charge range, thanks to solar panels integrated into the roof. Lightyear has already gotten 20,000 fleet pre-orders and 40,000 people to join the vehicle’s waitlist—something drivers can still do, if they haven’t already been made skeptical of the automaker’s ability to keep a promise.
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