Lightyear, the start-up from the Dutch town of Helmond which is working on passenger cars fitted with solar panels, has raised 81 million euros in a new funding round. The Province of North Brabant, investment fund Invest-NL and the Brabant Development Agency (BOM), among others, are investing in the company, BOM states in a press release.
Through this investment, Lightyear can now accelerate its current growth and take further steps towards international expansion outside of Europe. The company’s first ever production car, the Lightyear 0, is expected to hit the road at the end of this year. Besides that, this investment will also help with the development of the next model, the Lightyear 2. This model has a starting price of €30,000 and is expected to go into production in 2025. This model already has 10,000 reservations.
‘Would love to see them grow even further in Brabant’
The province is making a joint investment together with the Dutch national investment fund Invest-NL. The two public investors share a joint investment facility that enables them to provide capital to fast-growing innovative SMEs and mid-cap companies that want to scale up in Brabant. Martijn van Gruijthuijsen, representative for Economy, Finance, Knowledge and Talent Development: “It’s amazing to see how a company like Lightyear can grow from an ambitious start-up to a frontrunner in green mobility in Brabant. We see a bright future for Lightyear and would like to see them grow even further in Brabant. That’s good for Lightyear, the climate, the Netherlands and Brabant.” The total investment from the province and Invest-NL amounts to €25 million.
BOM is investing €5 million. Other investors include Limburg’s regional development company LIOF and private funds, such as SHV and DELA.
Dutch electricity grid under pressure
Right now, the Dutch electricity grid is under pressure and unable to keep up with the increasing demand for the charging of electric vehicles. Vehicles that are charged directly via solar energy do not need to be plugged in as often. At the same time, Lightyear is working on more efficient vehicles that consume less energy per kilometer, which will consequently result in a longer range as well as a smaller battery. Both of these developments have the potential to relieve pressure on the electricity grid.
“Thanks to the support of Invest-NL and the entire consortium along with our other investors and strategic partners, Lightyear is well-positioned and still on track to deliver the world’s first solar-powered car and work towards a more sustainable future,” said Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and co-founder of Lightyear. “In the current market environment, our technology has incredible potential to make a positive social impact, which is why I view investments of this caliber as a recognition of Lightyear’s product vision.”
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