In this paper we study the Cauchy problem for the wave equations for hypoelliptic homogeneous left-invariant operators on graded Lie groups when the time-dependent non-negative propagation speed is regular, Holder, and distributional. For Holder coefficients we derive the well-posedness in the spaces of ultradistributions associated to Rockland operators on graded groups. In the case when the propagation speed is a distribution, we employ the notion of "very weak solutions" to the Cauchy problem, that was already successfully used in similar contexts in  and . We show that the Cauchy problem for the wave equation with the distributional coefficient has a unique "very weak solution" in an appropriate sense, which coincides with classical or distributional solutions when the latter exist. Examples include the time dependent wave equation for the sub-Laplacian on the Heisenberg group or on general stratified Lie groups, or p-evolution equations for higher order operators on R-n or on groups, the results already being new in all these cases.