The company says it didn’t take the decision lightly because it will impact its employees, as well as “investors, customers, suppliers and the government.” It’s also likely to have an impact on Valmet Automotive, the Lightyear company hired to build the 0 (and which announced potential layoffs at the plant responsible for making the car earlier this month). Why Lightyear decided to halt production is unclear — it says it’s faced several challenges in recent months and that the move is to “protect our vision.”
Lightyear also says it is asking the court to bring “suspension proceedings” for the company responsible for manufacturing Lightyear 0; Their corporate structure includes a holding company as well as another organization.
Launched in 2019, the Lightyear 0 was intended to be a flagship (as its price made clear) and could theoretically achieve a range of up to 44 miles on solar power alone, provided by five square meter panels. That’s not exactly common with electric vehicles; The Lightyear 0 was one of the first to go into production using solar power, although it’s unclear how many the company actually made. His original plan was to produce 946.
The Lightyear 2, announced at this year’s CES, is intended for a very different market, with the company saying it will “inherit all of the innovations from Lightyear 0 at a fraction of the market price.” According to a statement on Monday, there are already “20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners” for the crossover. According to CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot in the press release, the development of the 0 has brought the company “many valuable lessons learned over the last few years” which it will use in the manufacture of the 2.
With that in mind, it would be hard to say if 0 really stood the test of time as only a handful were likely ever built.
Lightyear did not immediately respond The edge‘s request for comment on what would happen to Lightyear 0s already in production or whether its restructuring plan involved layoffs. Another question mark is how the company plans to fund work on Lightyear 2.
Stopping selling nearly a thousand hyper-expensive cars will almost certainly require a change of plans. The company hopes to “complete some key investments in the coming weeks to scale to Lightyear 2,” but I have to wonder if this news will affect those plans.