Dutch automaker Lightyear shifts focus from solar cars to solar panels for EV’s
Dutch carmaker Lightyear is temporarily shifting its focus away from producing solar-powered cars. This was confirmed on Tuesday by the company's CEO and co-founder, Lex Hoefsloot, following reports from Het Financieele Dagblad. The Helmond-based company will now prioritize the manufacture of solar panels for electric vehicles.
According to Hoefsloot, the change in focus arises because it is taking longer to launch the solar cars in the market. He also noted that there is currently a significant demand from the industry for solar panels on cars. "Electric vehicles would then need less frequent charging, making EVs even greener," he explained, highlighting the EU's increasingly strict requirements on electric vehicles.
Various media outlets reported that Lightyear will have to lay off employees due to this shift in direction. Hoefsloot confirmed that there will indeed be job cuts, but the exact number remains uncertain.
However, Hoefsloot emphasized that Lightyear continues discussions with several parties about launching the company's more affordable solar car model, the Lightyear 2. "Conversations with these parties can go in various directions," he said about the ongoing negotiations. Talks with South Korean investor Sunbo concerning financing are in progress. The decision to resume producing solar cars will depend on these parties and the capital market, according to Hoefsloot.
Earlier this year, Lightyear abruptly halted the production of its first car, the Lightyear 0. Only a handful of this premium model had been produced by that time. Shortly after halting production, Lightyear declared bankruptcy. In April, it was announced that the company would undergo a relaunch in a reduced form, with the then-curator deciding to sell several demonstration vehicles of the initial model. A group of loyal investors injected 8 million euros into the company, facilitating its revival.
Following the relaunch, Lightyear was expected to focus on producing its mass-market model, the Lightyear 2. There was considerable interest in this model at that time. Hoefsloot stated that Lightyear is currently not in financial distress.
Reporting by ANP