Lately, we’ve been testing our Validation Prototype to validate the technological capabilities of Lightyear One. We are doing this to prove that what we have been saying for years is possible in the real world, not only on paper and in the imagination.
With this prototype, we want to show that our design and technology work together as predicted and prove it by simply doing it. During its development, we prioritised the technical aspects needed for the performance of the vehicle, rather than the aesthetics. This means we didn’t put a lot of focus on just making a good looking car. We used a ‘camouflage wrapping’ to cover the rough bodywork, as it is not uncommon to wrap these technical prototypes. In some cases, parts of the styling are intentionally masked this way, to keep design elements hidden. That does not apply in our case, since the design of our car is already mostly known.
The power of light
"We wanted to give a little emotion to a mechanical object"
There is a simple trick in the design world, that if you want to mask a surface, you cover it with a pattern. This is because it visually distorts very well. Although we could have just designed a random pattern and stuck it on the car, we took the opportunity and went a step further, by creating something special. Something that complements the technical aspect of the prototype. We wanted to give a little emotion to a mechanical object. That is how we came up with the idea of showing the power of light in a simple and recognisable way for everyone.
"It’s a simple concept that perfectly illustrates the essence of our car and literally shows the power that light has."
By applying the ‘glow in the dark’ effect to the film, we transported our imagination back to our childhood rooms, when the ceiling was covered with bright stars in a dark galaxy. For decades now, they amazed generations with the simple quality of retaining the energy of light and visibly releasing it when it’s dark. It’s a simple concept that perfectly illustrates the essence of our car and literally shows the power that light has. It is an ordinary, almost magical quality, that appeals to the imagination. Magic that couldn’t be more real, as light is the main thing that keeps us alive. After all, everything that grows, blooms and moves around us is thanks to the energy given by the sun.
When we harvest that readily available energy directly where we need it, it gives us the ability to become independent, to go and be where we want. That’s what we envision with our car.
Lightyear Validation Prototype 008 at Aldenhoven Testing Center, Germany — June 2021
One with nature
We didn't want to create a deliberately designed pattern, but let it occur, as patterns seem to arise spontaneously in nature. Here is where you can find seemingly endless combinations of shapes and forms, created by all kinds of mechanical and chemical processes, often through simple rules. One of these rules is called differential line growth: a process that creates undulating and winding forms that often remind you of meandering rivers, or of surface textures like your skin, cracks in dry desert sand, or rippling water.
Example of differential growth of a single line
Though we may not know for sure the exact mechanisms of these natural processes, it is possible to simulate their behaviour digitally. By using an algorithmic simulation to generate the pattern for this prototype, the result is a wrapping that reminds you of snakeskin or exotic coral reefs. A car in camouflage, the way nature would probably have created it.