Dutch car maker Lightyear raises €5M to make solar cars mainstream

Dutch car maker Lightyear raises €5M to make solar cars mainstream

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Editor’s Note: Earlier version of this news about Lightyear’s Series A funding incorrectly said that the funding amount was €45M. The correct amount is €5M. The total amount of Lightyear’s Series A funding was €5M (Five Million Euros). This version has been corrected. 

Lightyear, a futuristic electric car that charges itself with sunlight raised €5M Series A round from 60+ investors, announced Lex Hoefsloot, director of Lightyear. The announcement was at the Hannover Messe, one of the world’s largest trade fairs held every year in Germany. Lightyear plans to use the funding proceeds to further develop Lightyear One, the company’s first solar car.

Here’s an overview of:

  • The startup’s car technology
  • How the team got together before it worked at another Dutch startup Solar Team Eindhoven (TU/e)?
  • It’s unique approach to raising funds from investors
  • Awards it won on its way to becoming a team of 100 employees

About Lightyear’s solar car

The core product is a sun-driven electric car with four-wheel drive with a range of 800 kilometers on a full battery. A solar car may be thought of as an electric car, one with an unlimited, free and wireless power source which it takes anywhere it goes.

Lightyear wrote that in its simplest form, its car consists of a solar panel, a battery, and one or more electric motors, a representation of which can be found below.

Source: Lightyear

To make the ‘solar car’ work seamlessly, Lightyear ensures to intervene at two ends. First, it decreases energy use and secondly, it increases energy input. The car doesn’t need dedicated ‘charging point’, a big pain point for other electric cars that depend on charging docks. 

Customers can charge the car via sunlight or a power-plug.

The founding team of Lightyear and progress along the way

Lightyear was founded by the alumni members (Qurein Biewenga, Arjo van der Ham, Martijn Lammers, and Lex Hoefsloot, CEO Lightyear) of an innovative Dutch startup Solar Team Eindhoven (TU/e), a solar-powered family car.

The founders previously work for Eindhoven and helped build Stella & Stella Lux solar cars for the company. Later the team got engaged in building their own startup Lightyear.

Lightyear has moved its office to The Automotive Campus in Helmond – located in the Brainport Region, a one-stop-shop in automotive technology and mobility concepts. The move was aimed to support Lightyear’s growth in an ecosystem that can help fast-track the company’s innovation and product development.

It also signed a collaboration with EDAG, the German automotive service provider to assist the company in engineering and commercial launch of the vehicle.

Lightyear launches ‘investor cafe’

It appears the team at Lightyear is not only innovating the design and engineering aspects of their solar car but also the way it raises funds. The startup launched a series of events aimed at attracting outside investment and named the events ‘Investor Cafe’.

This gave their move a buzz and acceptability in the venture capital funding market. The company has so far lined up €5M from 60 investors.

Lightyear won awards and accolades

Lightyear’s won ‘Climate Change Innovators Award’ at CES 2017 (Consumer Electronics Show). It also became one of 5 finalists in the Postcode Loterij Green Challenge and was awarded €100.000.

The startup’s participation in industry trade fairs like Hannover Messe and CES as well as receiving awards like Climate Change Innovator and Postcode Loterij implies that the startup is active in its industry and has grabbed the attention of experts.

To stay abreast of the latest tech and startup news, you may visit our recent news coverage about Belgian startup’s new funding, the €900k seed round of a startup serving the crypto world, and reasons European deep tech scaleups may benefit by participating in EIT Digital Challenge 2018.

For more updates in the tech startup world, stay tuned to Silicon Canals.

Note: This news originally used information stating that Lightyear raised €45M in Series A funding. This version has been corrected as the funding amount totaled €5M.