June 19, 2020

First Lightyear Research Vehicles hit the road

High-tech company Lightyear releases two Lightyear Research Vehicles to test its integrated solar technology on the road, preparing for the production of Lightyear’s exclusive series, expected by the end of 2021. With the research vehicles hitting the Dutch roads this week, the company reaches a new milestone in the development of its signature solar technology.

Introducing Lightyear’s Research Vehicles

Hitting the roads this week, Lightyear released two Research Vehicles with its signature solar technology. The company has equipped its solar technology onto a Volkswagen Crafter LCV and seamlessly integrated a solar roof onto a Tesla Model 3. Numbered 005 and 006 respectively, these vehicles are the latest developments in a series of platforms, serving to validate Lightyear’s technology and design choices. The vehicles can be seen driving around in the surroundings of Lightyear’s headquarters, located in the city of Helmond, The Netherlands.

With their integrated solar technology, the research vehicles will help to demonstrate the added value of integrated solar cells on vehicles, as they drive around measuring solar yield. The vehicles will provide additional real-world data on vibration impact, shock absorption and waterproofness. This research is deemed crucial to ensure a safe, reliable and durable solar system that will last the lifetime of Lightyear’s cars and of other vehicles that utilise these solar roofs.

Lightyear’s signature solar technology

Initially developed to compete in the World Solar Challenge, Lightyear’s solar technology was designed with three main design points: maximising solar cell coverage, durability and safety, all seamlessly and aesthetically integrated. By teaming with SunPower, integrating their Maxeon solar cells onto DSM’s conductive back sheet technology, Lightyear has increased solar yield, even in partial shade.

Adding road readiness to the best existing solar technology will allow the company to open a place for solar vehicles in the upcoming EV market. The combination of cutting edge technology, aesthetically packaged, is a defining element of Lightyear’s design philosophy.

Solar Vehicle Markets: Partnering with DSM, LeasePlan and Mijndomein

Over the course of the past months, Lightyear reached several milestones in the development of its solar technology, which recently culminated in a joint development agreement with multinational DSM. Under this joint development agreement, the companies are collaborating on the development of a high-growth business case for the solar vehicle market.

Lightyear is also closely collaborating with LeasePlan and Mijndomein. Through this collaboration, Lightyear's innovative solar technology can be made accessible to a broad business group. This way, LeasePlan and Mijndomein join forces with Lightyear to pioneer in the field of sustainable mobility and in the ambition to accelerate the transition to clean mobility.

Lightyear Research Vehicle 006 was achieved in collaboration between all four companies and is the first pilot project to be realised under the joint development agreement signed by Lightyear together with DSM.

Expected milestone: Building up to 007

At the end of 2020, Lightyear expects to be releasing Research Vehicle 007. This vehicle will be a Validation Prototype featuring the integration of Lightyear’s solar, in-wheel motor and battery technology combined.

On top of being another significant milestone for the company, the seventh Lightyear Research Vehicle will have the added benefit of having been developed on a native solar electric vehicle platform, optimised for energy efficiency. This vehicle will demonstrate the full potential of Lightyear’s signature solar technology, battery management system, in-wheel motors, inverters and the improvements it presents over regular electric vehicles platforms.

Related imagery

Lighyear Research Vehicles

For non-commercial use only.

Lightyear Research Vehicle - Tesla M3

For non-commercial use only.

Lightyear Research Vehicle

For non-commercial use only.


For non-commercial use only.

About Lightyear

Lightyear is on a mission to make clean mobility available to everyone, everywhere. Lightyear develops electric cars with an energy-efficient design and integrated solar cells. This allows motorists, depending on the climate, to drive up to twenty thousand kilometres per year on the power of the sun. The fast-growing company was founded in 2016 and currently employs more than one hundred twenty employees. The team is made up out of a mix of young talent and experience from the automotive industry, including former employees of Tesla, Audi and Ferrari. In 2019, Lightyear recently received the Horizon 2020 grant from the European Commission under grant agreement number 848620. In the summer of 2019, Lightyear launched its first driving prototype, Lightyear One, and opened a new office. The prestigious TIME Magazine acknowledged Lightyear One as one of the ‘100 best inventions’ of 2019. The first model is expected to be delivered in 2021 in an exclusive series of 946 pieces.

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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