Not VDL Nedcar, but Finnish Valmet Automotive will be Lightyear’s production partner. Starting early 2022, the first prototypes of the Lightyear One will be built in Finland. By the middle of next year, the first commercial vehicles should roll out of the factory.
“After a thorough and extensive selection process which took over a year, Lightyear selected Valmet Automotive as production partner,” the Helmond-based company writes in a press release. “Valmet Automotive is an EV pioneer, which has been involved in the development and production of electric cars for more than 10 years. The company has more than 50 years of experience with large and well-known car brands, as well as guiding startup and scale-up companies to production. More than 1.7 million vehicles – such as Mercedes-Benz, Saab, and Porsche – have left the production lines of Valmet Automotive in Uusikaupunki, Finland. Valmet Automotive also has its own battery production line and has recently invested heavily in additional engineering and testing capabilities for EV powertrain developments.”
Lightyear’s decision is a set-back for ‘neighbor’ VDL Nedcar, which is frantically looking for new orders after losing BMW as a customer. Nedcar was one of the three candidates but did not come out on top. Although there are plans for a battery factory in Born, Nedcar has limited experience with electric vehicles.
Recently, the American company Canoo did choose Nedcar as a production partner for its electric vehicles. According to De Limburger, Nedcar is still in the race for the mass-market model that Lightyear plans to launch in 2024.