• The company will now focus on its Lightyear 2 model, a far more affordable EV
  • The Lightyear 2 already has over 40,000 individual clients on the waitlist
  • Lightyear joins Tesla, Nio and Volkswagen in the list of EV companies to halt production

Solar electric vehicle maker Lightyear has stopped the production of its $270,000 flagship Lightyear 0, citing a transition in focus toward the production of the Lightyear 2, a much more affordable solar EV.

The Dutch EV maker reportedly said it has been "overcoming many challenges" over the past few months.

"In order to safeguard our vision, we had to decide to redirect our focus and resources completely towards Lightyear 2. This means in effect that we had to suspend the production of Lightyear 0," the company said in a press release Monday.

Lightyear CEO and co-founder Lex Hoefsloot said a recently launched waitlist for the Lightyear 2 resulted in "more than 40,000 subscriptions of individual customers," as well as about 20,000 pre-orders from fleet owners.

Compared to Lightyear 0, which had a target starting price of €250,000 (approximately $271,900), the Lightyear 2 starts at €40,000 (approximately $43,500) and can drive up to 497 miles before the next charging.

Unlike the "conventional EV," the company says Lightyear 2 solar electric car "needs three times fewer charges" and can also be charged using regular home sockets aside from the sun.

While the company said it is refocusing production on the Lightyear 2, news of the Lightyear 0 being shelved came as several other EV makers pushed back production on some models and also delayed delivery dates over various industry issues such as semiconductor shortages, TechCrunch reported.

Last year, the electric vehicle industry saw a global semiconductor shortage that hurt manufacturers and their partners alike.

While some experts believe the "worst is over" in terms of the widespread shortage that largely affected the global supply chain, other industry analysts predicted that higher interest rates may still keep sales low in the auto sector.

Lightyear joins the list of EV makers around the world that recently announced the suspension of EV production.

Last month, China's Evergrande suspended the mass production of its only electric model due to a small number of orders, as per two sources that spoke to Reuters.

Earlier in 2022, multiple EV makers such as Tesla and Nio suspended production as supply chain woes related to COVID-19, the Ukraine war and other logistical problems hit the industry hard.

Tesla halted most of its manufacturing processes at its Shanghai plant, winding down to only about 200 vehicles per day from 1,200 units daily. Some of the Elon Musk-owned company's suppliers such as Aptiv saw employees getting infected with COVID-19, pushing back production of critical parts needed for Tesla units.

Like Tesla, China's Nio also had to halt production in its Jilin, Jiangsu and Shanghai plants due to coronavirus infections disrupting operations at some of its suppliers.

Furthermore, Volkswagen too halted production at two of its car factories in Germany last year following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A worker walks along the TX electric taxi production line inside the LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) factory in Coventry
Representative image. Reuters