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Lightyear’s Operating Company Enters Bankruptcy

  • The Dutch EV startup Lightyear’s operating company, Atlas Technologies BV, enters bankruptcy days after production of its first EV was halted.
  • The company initially announced suspended production of the Lightyear 0 to focus all energies on bringing the Lightyear 2 to market, starting in 2025.
  • The EV startup’s first EV had a starting price of around $260,000 while offering a range of 388 miles, and was produced under contract by Valmet Automotive in Finland.

Just days after Lightyear indicated it was halting production of its innovative and partially solar-powered Lightyear 0 sedan to focus on its next model, the company has entered bankruptcy. The Dutch startup, which was present at CES less than a month after production of its first model began, has now stopped payments to its operating company, Atlas Technologies BV, which contracted Valmet Automotive in Finland to produce the high-tech—and high-priced—electric sedan.

The fate of the company’s second model, the Lightyear 2, is now uncertain as the company navigates bankruptcy. Lightyear aimed for a production start in 2025 for the Lightyear 2, as well as a starting price just below the $40,000 mark, promising a range of 500 miles between recharges thanks to solar panels and other technologies.

“As announced on January 23, we had to submit the request for the opening of suspension of payment proceedings with respect to Atlas Technologies BV, our operating company responsible for the production of Lightyear,” the company said in a statement.

The company’s request has been granted by a court in the Netherlands, which declared bankruptcy for Atlas Technologies BV. However, the bankruptcy only concerns the manufacturing arm of the company, even though the prospects of the whole venture, and the jobs of more than 500 employees, are now in doubt.

The company revealed just a couple of months ago that it had raised $80 million ahead of the start of Lightyear 0 production in Finland.

Earlier this month the company had opened a waiting list for the Lightyear 2, which would have incorporated many technologies from the company’s first model, just a few of which are believed to have been produced since early December.

“In the coming period the trustee will focus on the position of the employees and creditors as well as assessing how the Lightyear concept can be continued,” the company added.

Lightyear saw solar technology as the key to overcoming range anxiety as well as charging expenses, engineering its first model over the course of six years, to generate up to 43 miles of range per day. The sleek sedan, with a drag coefficient of 0.175 Cd, featured a relatively modest 61.2-kWh battery, though promised an overall range of 388 miles in the WLTP cycle.

It remains to be seen whether the company, which had raised quite a bit of cash just before the production start of the $260,000 sedan, will be able to reorganize and attract more investment for its second model, or if another automaker will be willing to come to the rescue.

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