Lightyear seems to have abandoned its solar car plans
There were already signs of the change of course in October 2023. The then CEO Lex Hoefsloot stated at the time that plans for the production of the Lightyear 2 were being paused and that priority would instead be given to the production of solar modules for electric cars from other manufacturers. But it was also confirmed that Lightyear is still in talks with several potential partners to launch the more affordable Lightyear 2 solar car model.
However, there is no mention of the Lightyear 2 in the current announcement. However, it can still be found on the Lightyear website.
However, it is clear that co-founder Hoefsloot is no longer CEO. He will remain with the company “to support a smooth transition in the coming period and to focus on the longer-term potential of the company”. Instead, the previous Head of Product Solar, Bonna Newman, has been appointed as the new CEO. She will be supported by Marnix Borghouts, an experienced CFO.
The appointment of Newman in particular gives an impression of the future direction, which Lightyear himself confirms. Newman has “exceptional experience in the solar and vehicle-integrated PV sector”. “As Lightyear now strives to offer its innovative on-board solar charging system technology to the entire passenger vehicle market, her network, knowledge and expertise will be valuable in maximizing its impact,” the company said.
At the beginning of 2022, Lightyear unexpectedly discontinued the series production of its debut model Lightyear 0, which had just started, due to financial problems. Shortly afterwards, the company had to file for insolvency and was only able to restart on a reduced scale in April 2023 thanks to a financial injection from a group of loyal investors – at that time, the focus was placed on the series production of the Lightyear 2 volume model. Now it is a special charging system with solar support.
“Lightyear has demonstrated how highly-efficient electric vehicles combined with on-board solar will accelerate the energy transition and benefit the world,” says Newman, CEO of Lightyear. “Lightyear has set the stage for a new era of solar-powered mobility. I look forward to partnering our amazing team with the automotive industry to ensure the best on-board solar technology is available to everyone.”
“I have great confidence in Bonna’s and Marnix’s leadership, their combined skillset is exactly what the company needs right now,” says ousted CEO Hoefsloot. “I am confident they will take this company to new heights. As Lightyear is becoming more mature and shifts towards scaling of the on-board solar technology, my skills are best put to use in a different role within the company.”