Sometimes, in this business, you just have to wait and see how things are going to shake out. Other times, they shake out before you're done asking the question.
Last week, the solar car hit a roadblock when Lightyear announced plans to stop production on the Lightyear 0, a revolutionary but pricey solar car, and pivot production to the Lightyear 2, a more economical solar EV with more mass appeal.
At the time, it seemed pretty sudden since Lightyear had begun production on the 0 less than two months ago and planned on using the money to fund the 2’s development.
On Friday, reports surfaced regarding the bankruptcy of Atlas Technologies. Atlas is Lightyear's parent company and its demise likely means the end of the solar electric carmaker as well.
On January 23, the carmaker published a blog post with the headline, “Lightyear decides to fully focus on Lightyear 2.” A January 27th blog post read, “Bankruptcy Approved.”
According to NL Times, some 600 employees are likely out of a job at Lightyear which is based in Helmond, Netherlands. The company simply doesn't have the funds to pay salaries. However, the bankruptcy curator charged with sussing out Atlas’s financials wants to keep all staff onboard for the immediate future. He believes the staff could be key to making a production restart more possible.
The curator, Reinoud van Oeijen, is looking at potential partners to take over the business, and give the Lightyear 2 a new lease on life. The company held previous talks with potential investment partners, so it is possible that Lightyear could live on if a suitor is found. The curator is also investigating how Lightyear came to such a swift and sudden end.
Salaries are being paid by Dutch benefits organization, UWV Employee Insurance Agency, for the time being. However the restart has some sticking points regarding the intellectual property and who owns what.
Only a few Lightyear 0s ever made it off the line and while the company has more than 60,000 pre-orders and names on a waitlist for the 2, no money ever changed hands.