Dutch government participates in Lightyear investment round

The Dutch government participates in Lightyear. This is done through a consortium, Invest-NL, founded by the Dutch government. Lightyear raises capital of €81 million; it is not known precisely how significant the Invest-NL share is.

Lightyear is a Dutch start-up established in 2016 and wants to build electric cars that can be charged through the power grid and through integrated solar panels (for example, on the car’s roof).

Swedish high-performance sports car manufacturer Koenigsegg is also investing an undisclosed amount of money in the Dutch solar car start-up. The partnership goes further than finances alone, including exchanging technical expertise, both parties announced in July.

Volume product

The prototype was shown in 2019, and successful tests on public roads followed a year later. The aerodynamically designed EV achieves a driving range of over 700 km.

The investment round was necessary to realize the production start of the first model, the Lightyear 0. It will go into a limited production of 946 units in autumn of this year and will be sold at a whopping €250 000. By 2024 or possibly 2025, a second model will be added to the range.

That Lightyear 2 will be the first mass product that must remain affordable with a starting price of €30 000. Major players in the leasing market, such as MyWheels and Leaseplan, have already placed reservation orders for a total of 10 000 units.

Local production

The production of the vehicles is done in the Netherlands, and especially the parts to build the solar car are mainly outsourced to local partners, such as Venray in North Limburg, which will take care of the production of the solar roofs.

This is precisely why the Dutch government finds it justified to pump money into this project because it generates local employment, on the one hand, and fits in with a strategy to decarbonize mobility, on the other.

Multiple investors

Invest-NL, together with the province of North Limburg and the Brabant Development Agency, is putting 25 million euros on the table. Earlier, other players, such as LIOF, the Limburg Development Company, and DELA, a funeral insurance company, invested in Lightyear. They, too, would be injecting additional capital today.

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