Lightyear Two Coming In 2025 — A Little Less Range, A Lot Less Money

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The Lightyear One is a transformative car — the first long range electric car powered in part by solar panels embedded in the hood, roof, and trunk. It will be built by Valmet Automotive and feature 5 square meters of solar panels. The company says it could allow owners to “drive for months without charging” as those panels can add about 7.5 (12 km) miles of range for every hour it’s parked in the sun. With a fully charged battery, the Lightyear One has a range of 450 miles (725 km) as determined by the WLTP test cycle.

But all that goodness comes at a price, $170,000 (€150,000) to be exact. For that kind of money, the line of people waiting to buy one will be quite short. But not to worry, EV fans. Lightyear announced this week it is bringing a second solar-powered car, the Lightyear Two, to market in late 2024 or early 2025. That car will have a smaller battery and a shorter range — how much shorter is unknown at this time — but the company says it will start at a mere $33,779 (€30,000).

Lightyear says having a smaller battery means it takes much less time to charge than the Ligthyear One and that it will need charging much less frequently than a traditional electric car with similar range because of the solar panels embedded in the exterior. The company confirmed to CarScoops that the Lightyear Two will be offered in a variety of global markets including Europe and the United States. It will be manufactured by Valmet as well. The Two “builds on the technology developed” for the One, the company says.

Lightyear One. Image courtesy of Lightyear.

In addition to releasing initial details about the Two, Lightyear announced an agreement with LeasePlan that will see the company reserve 5,000 units of the shorter range solar electric vehicle. LeasePlan has already ordered a few of the Lightyear One models. Lightyear CEO Lex Hoefsloot says, “LeasePlan has been a very strong partner for us since 2018. Today’s announcement is a testament to their commitment to our product vision to make clean mobility accessible for everyone.”

His sentiments were echoed by LeasePlan CEO Tex Gunning, who said his company will offer “the world’s first solar powered car subscription.” He added that LeasePlan “looks forward to joining forces with Lightyear and putting drivers behind the wheel of some of the cleanest, most innovative EVs ever produced.”

Yes, the Lightyear Two is still years away from production and lots of things can go wrong when bringing new products to market. “If wishes were horses, we’d all be kings,” my old Irish grandmother liked to say. Will an affordable solar-powered electric car be available to buy in 2025? “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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