A unique innovation in solar electric propulsion
It took Lightyear’s founders six years to design the world's first solar-powered car. Equipped with 5m2 of solar panels, the Lightyear 0 has a driving range of 550 kilometers. This precursor vehicle reloads while driving, thus avoiding issues related to the accessibility and availability of recharging stations. After raising funds of 93 million euros in 2021, several computer simulations and a prototype, the manufacturer announced production of the model in the autumn of 2022. Recyclable and environmentally friendly materials are incorporated into the vehicle’s equipment design: plant leather, fabrics made from recycled bottles, panels and recycled carbon fibers. One obstacle, however, is its price. At more than 250 000 euros, Lightyear 0's innovation is not easily accessible.
Lightyear 2: A more affordable model … available as of 2025
To democratise their vehicles, Lightyear went back to the studio to re-design the concept. Unveiled at the CES 2023 in Las Vegas, the Lightyear 2 now features solar panels on its roof and hood. The vehicle’s autonomy now extends to 800 kilometers, with a differentiating battery that requires recharging three times less frequently than a conventional electric vehicle. The price issue seems finally resolved: at around EUR 40 000, the Lightyear 2 is more accessible to the public. This innovative, efficient and more sustainable vehicle is expected to be produced in factories located in Finland by 2025. "We are grateful for Arval's trust and being able to have their expertise and international footprint to roll out Lightyear 2, said Lex Hoefsloot – CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear. "Next to offering our solar electric cars to individual consumers, Arval plays a crucial role as a leasing company in making our technologies available for as many people as possible."
Arval accelerates the development of new mobility solutions for its customers
In this context, Arval did not wait to take position. As a key player in integrated mobility, BNP Paribas' subsidiary has signed a pre-order of 10,000 vehicles. Lightyear now has a book of 21 000 pre-orders via its B2B partners. The total estimated amount of these pre-orders is of 840 million euros. This figure reflects manufacturer’s ambitions, as well as their clients’, to conquer the European car market and beyond.
"Lightyear's technology is proven, affordable, and environmentally friendly, making a great addition to our fleet. Our ambition is to lease 700,000 electrified vehicles around the world by 2025, and we look forward to welcoming 10,000 Lightyear 2 cars, that help us to reach that goal and more importantly, further support our customers with an optimal solution that answers their energy transition needs and the infrastructure challenge in Europe.”