The Lightyear One solar-supplemented electric car hasn't started production, but its Dutch maker is already planning a second, more-affordable model.
In a keynote presentation earlier this month, Lightyear confirmed plans to launch a second EV, appropriately dubbed Lightyear Two, in late 2024 or early 2025. The Lightyear Two will have a smaller battery pack and less range than the Lightyear One, but also a lower price point.
While Lightyear didn't go into detail on pack size or range, it did say the Two would have a starting price equivalent to about $34,000, compared to $170,000 for the Lightyear One. Lightyear said LeasePlan had already signed an agreement reserving 5,000 of the lower-priced Two models.
Lightyear One wind tunnel testing
Lightyear has said the One will achieve well over 400 miles of range, with less battery than any Long Range Tesla. It manages that thanks to a very low drag coefficient and a solar roof that can provide electricity for 70% to 90% of annual mileage in optimal conditions, the company claims.
In addition to achieving impressive range without a huge battery pack, Lightyear claims the solar roof will allow drivers to "leapfrog the grid" and rely less on charging infrastructure. Lightyear believes this could potentially lighten the load on the grid by reducing the need for charging.
The Lightyear One will be built by Finland's Valmet Automotive—the company that built the Fisker Karma. Lightyear said in July that prototype builds would start in January 2022, with full production scheduled to start in summer 2022. It's unclear if the contract manufacturing agreement with Valmet will extend to the Lightyear Two as well.