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Clean mobility is built into our DNA — How our cars tap into human instinct

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Today, mobility is a societal need, but it began as a human instinct. It still is — you may not know it, but it’s coded into your very DNA. Whether we realise it or not, our travel habits fulfil primal instincts that stretch back all to prehistoric times. In this blog, we look at the fascinating science behind mobility and the innovations that will strengthen our connection to movement.

We can predict that you’ll be on the move for at least one hour and six minutes today. Yes — we can be that specific, and we don't even need a crystal ball. Those numbers are hardwired into human nature.

Although humanity has become incredibly advanced, our internal software is still around 50,000 years old. Back then, we were in full evolutionary times. It appears that one hour and six minutes of moving created the most optimum experience for exploring, hunting and gathering. It’s that same instinct that still unconsciously moves us around for that amount of time today.

Marchettis constant clean mobility lightyear

Early Lightyear customer and renowned global expert in mobility, Dr Carlo Van de Weijer, tells us that this is called Marchetti’s Constant, and it’s this special scientific law that set the stage for our meaningful and longstanding connection to mobility.

Cars, especially, have come to symbolise independent and free movement, but at what cost?

Does clean mobility mean ditching cars?

Cars answer today’s societal needs, but also our biological urges.

Worldwide demand for vehicles is skyrocketing. Transport contributes up to 23% of current energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, and we can expect exponential growth of cars.

Estimated car growth worldwide mobility

Although society is making positive moves towards the electrification of vehicles, we can’t scale them at the same rate. Electric cars depend on the power grid, which is already becoming strained, and its power generation is still largely fossil-fuelled.

While reducing the number of cars on our roads by championing sharing and hailing options is a critical step towards a cleaner future, it may not be compelling or convenient enough for many, and won’t give us the complete answer.

Technical innovation, not eradication

Innovation has brought us this far, but we say that it can bring us further; to a vital intersection where human habits and our planet’s preservation become harmonious once again.

Dr Carlo Van de Weijer explains: “Our incredible affinity with movement and desire for more speed has innovated technology that has extended human range with every generation. Beyond townscapes, beyond borders, oceans and hemispheres.

“We have innovated technology that makes mobility easier, faster, more accessible and convenient. But also much more polluting.

“We can expect some shifts in how we approach mobility, but the car is here to stay. It answers most of our hunter-gatherer instincts too well. Eradicating cars, at least for the coming centuries, is not feasible. But we do need to see change begin, so we innovate.

“As a society, we have always innovated our way out of problems. Now, we will innovate not to remove driving completely, but to remove the unsustainable, unclean elements of driving.”

Back to our origins of clean movement

Have you ever spent a day indoors and felt restless? Inexplicably unfulfilled and frustrated? That’s because, from the very beginning, we've been made to move.

Humans began with an intrinsic, burning curiosity that pressed us to explore. Our routes were simple. We left footprints in the earth and followed the cues of nature as our compass. The skies gave us maps, and the land gave us tools.

clean mobility lightyear

Pause for a second to appreciate just how incredibly far we’ve moved on since. As society and its complex needs have advanced, so has technology. Take communication — speech began thousands of years BC, which then became the written symbol. Afterwards came the telegraph, then the wired telephone that evolved over hundreds of iterations to become the advanced mobile phone technology we know today.

Progress is inevitable, and so is the technology that enables it. Today, it provides our maps, tools and a huge portion of human movement. We embrace it almost effortlessly, and we’ll continue to do so for as long as it enriches our lives and the urges that trace back to our origin.

Where innovation meets raw imagination

The evolving technologies we know today have created meaningful, lasting change. And Lightyear 0 will do the same for human mobility.

At Lightyear, we innovate technology that will bring us back to earth's oldest, most plentiful energy source. The sun.

With solar technology, we’ll push forwards to forge new, exciting paths that nourish our need to move and relieve strain on the planet.

Lightyear 0, shining proof of limitless possibility, is set to go into production and onto roads across Europe later this year. Follow its progress by subscribing to our mailing list.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 848620