In terms of upcoming EV challengers to Tesla’s throne, few have us more excited than the Netherlands’ startup company, Lightyear, whose Lightyear One prototype managed to clock 441 miles on a single charge earlier this year. While extremely impressive and promising, the upcoming EV’s estimated $130,000 price tag will restrict its sales to a very particular, very affluent market demographic when it enters its initial limited production phase next year.
That said, today saw some good news for the rest of us on more realistic budgets: Lightyear has announced that its second solar-powered EV model is coming within the next few years, and is budgeted to start around $34,000. As CarScoops and elsewhere have noted, the cheaper edition is due sometime in 2024 or 2025 and will require some concessions in range and charge capabilities. That said, Lightyear explains it shouldn’t be a problem, given the new model will require around five times less charging than existing EVs through its reliance on solar panel assistance.
While no images of the Lightyear Two are available yet, we assume they’ll still look pretty badass, judging from the first-gen’s look.
Car as a subscription model — For the time being, however, it seems that Lightyear’s EVs will only be available via a partnership with the Car-As-A-Service company, LeasePlan. Lightyear has apparently already been working with LeasePlan since 2018, and intends to also make its initial premium EVs available through the company, as well. Currently, 5,000 Lightyear Twos are scheduled for LeasePlan, with the aim to expand those numbers in the coming years.
Solar power on the horizon — Although solar-powered vehicles have been largely inefficient for years, recent technological progress is making them — or, at least, solar power-assisted EVs — a far more viable alternative within the green transportation industry. Companies like Lightyear are key to pushing these kinds of innovation forward to expand the market for drivers, and honestly, anything that challenges Tesla’s stranglehold is fine by us.