Valmet Automotive gears up to build the hyper-efficient sedan, but will it be a Tesla or Lucid rival?
- Series production of the Lightyear 0 electric sedan at Valmet Automotive’s plant in Finland is scheduled for later this year.
- The hyper-efficient EV is expected to offer a range of 388 miles in the WLTP cycle once it goes on sale, powered by a 60-kWh battery.
- The electric sedan, expected to cost $265,000, will see limited production, ahead of Lightyear’s plans to roll out a mass-market crossover in 2024.
The first pre-production example of the Lightyear 0 has been completed, with contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive bringing the innovative sedan one step closer to reality. The partially solar-powered four-door is slated to enter production in Uusikaupunki, Finland, later this year, promising a high level of energy efficiency with a relatively small battery rated at just 60 kWh.
Valmet is now also building the assembly line for production cars that will go to customers, while its workers are being trained by Lightyear at its site in Helmond, Netherlands.
“We are immensely proud at Valmet Automotive to have completed the first pre-production Lightyear 0 solar electric vehicle. This is an important step toward the start of customer car production and making an automotive dream come true,” said Pasi Rannus, SVP of manufacturing at Valmet Automotive.
Despite being planned as a relatively low-volume production car—one that other companies might have planned to build by hand—Valmet will use robots for laser welding on the assembly line, which will be located in the newest section of the manufacturer’s plant in Uusikaupunki.
“The selection and training of additional car builders for the Lightyear 0 assembly has already started at the Uusikaupunki car plant,” Valmet adds.
Valmet is currently outfitting the production line for the sedan ahead of the scheduled start of series production later this year.
The Lightyear 0, formerly known as the Lightyear One, is promised to offer an average consumption of 141 Watt-hours per kilometer at 130 km/h (80.7 mph), which works out to 4.4 miles/kWh. The company says this level of energy efficiency will permit the sedan to cover 248 miles at 80 mph, though a WLTP range should give a better sense of real-world performance, landing at 388 miles. This will bring it close to the top range of the Tesla Model S, albeit with a much smaller battery. But the sedan isn’t expected to top the Lucid Air’s 520-mile range, once again owing to the latter’s battery size.
What the Lightyear 0 will offer that those other two sedans won’t, however, are integrated solar panels that will be able to add 6.2 miles of range per hour, though perhaps not in the middle of a Finnish winter.
The price for this innovation won’t be cheap. The Lightyear 0 is expected to cost $265,000, making series production more of a technology demonstrator than a luxury rival for Lucid Motors.
Jay Ramey Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum.