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The road to production: Discover the partnership propelling Lightyear 0 toward manufacture

As we accelerate towards another electrifying milestone, we’re outlining how we’ll ensure the smooth production of Lightyear 0 with our partner, Valmet Automotive.

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2022 is a big, bright year for us.

In June we brought our solar electric car, Lightyear 0, out of the shadows and into the drenching lights of the world stage. Its final specs, design and unique capabilities were revealed as thousands tuned in for its online global premiere.

Weeks later, we held the very first Lightyear driving experience in Navarra, Spain. Here, Lightyear 0 met the hands of its first drivers as customers and investors set it soaring against a backdrop of sun-baked mountains, valleys and plains.

Now, we’re levelling up with our partner, Valmet Automotive, as we advance along the road to production.

Producing Lightyear 0 — Where, when and how?

We’re often asked where the production of Lightyear 0 will take place, so let’s start there. Lightyear 0 was innovated in the Netherlands, but it will be produced in Uusikaupunki, Finland; where our production partner runs its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities.

Since its founding in 1968, Valmet Automotive has stood for a holistic approach to vehicle production. More than 1.7 million cars — including Mercedes-Benz, Saab and Porsche — have left their manufacturing lines. Aside from its reputation for quality, flexibility and innovation, it’s the Valmet Automotive vision that resonated most with us.

When speaking of the companies’ cultural synergy, Lightyear VCM Coordinator, Ivo Smeets, said: “Valmet Automotive is one of the electrical vehicle pioneers to put redefining technologies into motion. Their vision of a cleaner, scalable future aligns with ours. We have a shared ambition to advance electric mobility, in Europe and beyond.”

A shared ambition that will soon take physical, aerodynamic shape, when our first and exclusive series rolls off of production lines and into the hands of its first drivers later this year.

Learning the Lightyear way — Knowledge exchange

At our bright and airy HQ, you’ll discover a unique and dynamic partnership. And this time we’re not talking in-wheel motors and inverters. This one goes beyond technical fusion; it’s the partnership between Lightyear and Valmet Automotive.

For the past six months, Valmet Automotive employees have been stationed here, working closely with Lightyear teams in Helmond, the Netherlands. They’re learning, through hands-on experience with passionate experts, how to produce and build product-intent vehicles the Lightyear way. In other words, they’re learning Lightyear 0 inside-out.

Sami Hakala, Resident Engineer at Valmet Automotive, explains: “We'll take our knowledge back to Finland to ensure production runs like clockwork. We’ll use it to validate our equipment and work instructions, and train assembly teams to be prepared for every eventuality.

“This period of learning is really important. It’s when we define everything needed, in detail, to ensure a top-quality and safe manufacturing process.

“We’ve learned so much already, and in tandem, it’s my role to help both parties share that information and uphold efficient communication. We’ve gotten to know and understand each other really well, and that means we can communicate quickly and effectively.” - Sami Hakala, Resident Engineer at Valmet Automotive

Working in tandem— Next steps to production

Lightyear 0’s production is another pinnacle of innovation, and the shining realisation of a dream conceived six years ago. Here’s what’s up next as we work closely to reach another glittering landmark:

  • Valmet Automotive will use a Lightyear strip and build vehicle at their facilities in Uusikaupunki, to finalise tooling and comprehensively train workers;

  • Simultaneously, preparations will be made to their assembly facility by testing commission and equipment;

  • Lightyear is currently preparing all parts for the builds in its warehouse facilities in Venray, and will lead in the testing of all logistical systems.

A dedicated launch manager from Lightyear will also fly to Finland to support from start of production and onwards. This way, any potential snags can be addressed with speed and precision.

Excited to see clean, solar mobility hit the road this year? Never miss an update as we near the corner to production by subscribing to our mailing list.

About Lightyear’s technology

As our world moves to more sustainable energy sources, Lightyear is driving the development of clean mobility in the automotive industry. By enabling electric vehicles to be scalable for everyone, everywhere, we will accelerate the sustainability transition for a positive impact on our planet.

Our technology is engineered to enable a clean future. Starting from scratch and using a holistic design approach we developed an ultra-energy-efficient long-range solar car. Our technology redefines performance with what truly matters: efficiency.

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About Lightyear

We design for independence and convenience. We create clean solar electric cars that can drive off-grid and into all of life's adventures.

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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