Netherlands-based aspiring EV maker Lightyear spent six years working on a car rechargeable by the sun. Now it's possible the light has gone out. Lightyear production company Atlas Technologies filed for bankruptcy, citing unexpected cost overruns for production among other factors.

Some background: Lightyear showed the prototype Lightyear 1 in 2019, followed by the production Lightyear 0 last year, priced at €250,000. One thousand solar panels decorated the horizontal surfaces on the five-door hatchback, including the area where the rear window would normally be, said to provide enough juice to the 60-kWh battery to add from 20 to 70 kilometers of range in a day depending on weather conditions. The company outsourced production of 946 examples of the Lightyear 0 to Valmet in Finland last November, at a rate of one car per week, the production number celebrating the 9.46 trillion kilometers light travels in a year.

The company's faced a turbulent opening to 2023. It showed its next model, the Lightyear 2, at CES 2023. That car was meant to come in under €40,000 and provide a WLTP range of about 500 miles, entering production in 2025. The firm told TechCrunch that once it opened reservations for the Lightyear 2 at CES, 40,000 individuals booked spots and companies signed up for 20,000 cars. Then last week the company halted production on the Lightyear 0, which probably hadn't seen more than a dozen cars produced, saying it wanted to focus on the Lightyear 2. Why pour money into selling 946 cars when you can put those limited resources into selling 60,000?   

As these things go, the end of the money came before the end of the dream. The Rechtbank Oost-Brabant court in 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands accepted the bankruptcy application for Atlas Technologies B.V., the division that handles Lightyear production, appointing a trustee to oversee proceedings.

Lightyear's parent company is called Atlas Technologies Holding B.V., and it owns the car's intellectual property. The holding company is not affected, so it's possible the interested parties can find a way out. The court approved the production company's suspension of payments during reorganization. Lightyear wrote in a statement that it "regrets having to make this announcement for all employees, customers, investors, and suppliers and will work closely with the curator and all the people involved and hope for their understanding and support." Now the process plays out in the usual way — "the trustee will focus on the position of the employees and creditors as well as assessing how the Lightyear concept can be continued."

For now, Germany's Sono is the solar-powered car company closest to production, the Sion expected to go on sale in Europe toward the end of this year.

Lightyear solar car builder files for bankruptcy, Lightyear 2 in doubt originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 2 Feb 2023 14:13:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

2023-02-02T19:31:03Z dg43tfdfdgfd