Lightyear acquires Next Level Electronics’ technology to strengthen drivetrain platform

Lightyear, the high-tech company developing the world's first solar car, today announced the asset acquisition from Next Level Electronics (NLE), a Dutch electronics development company specializing in the design of high efficient power electronics. After working together with NLE on the development of drivetrain inverters, Lightyear has acquired NLE’s technological designs of the latter, which are crucial for the efficiency of the drivetrain. With that, Lightyear secures its technology and can further progress in the development and production of a more efficient drivetrain platform for its solar electric vehicles.

The full ownership over the technology regarding inverters, models, and software marks Lightyear’s first acquisition

A step towards higher electric car efficiency
Lightyear’s design philosophy revolves around efficiency and the pursuit to get the most out of each part of its car, Lightyear 0, to create the most sustainable electric vehicle to date. Next to aerodynamics and rolling resistance, Lightyear’s custom-designed drivetrain is a key element for reaching lower energy consumption and therefore higher range, making solar panels on cars a viable concept. This is where NLE comes into play, which was originally co-founded by Lightyear employees and other former TU Eindhoven students after their participation in the Solar Team Eindhoven.

“NLE has played a significant role in the development of the core technology for the efficiency of our drivetrain design, namely its inverters, so it made perfect sense to make this business decision. This will greatly benefit our knowledge base and technology portfolio, making it possible for us to further develop our drivetrain and strengthen Lightyear’s position in the automotive industry,” says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder of Lightyear.

New opportunities for Lightyear 2
In addition to having more freedom in their drivetrain design, Lightyear sees the acquisition as an opportunity to further improve their technologies to get a step closer to their mission of clean mobility for everyone, everywhere: after validating the technology of solar electric cars with their first car model, Lightyear 0, the drivetrain will be further developed for their more accessible mass-market model, Lightyear 2, which is intended for additional distribution in the US, UK, and eventually Asia. 

Jordy de Renet, Co-Founder and Director of Next Level Electronics, says: “Next Level Electronics and Lightyear have a lot of common DNA, being spin-offs of the Solar Team Eindhoven solar team. We share the ideal of 'sustainability through technology', and there have always been strong bonds between Next Level Electronics and Lightyear. After three years of co-development on highly efficient inverters, Lightyear is now in a perfect position to bring our partially co-developed technology to market. This is why we are proud that NLE's inverter technology will be used in solar electric cars in the coming years."

Efficient solar electric vehicles are, according to Lightyear, the solution to many current mobility challenges, such as insufficient charging infrastructures, grid overloading, and rising energy prices for consumers. With more solar electric vehicles on the road, the amount of energy used for battery charging is reduced significantly and is, therefore, more sustainable than conventional electric vehicles. With Lightyear 0 going into production this fall, followed by its mass-market model, Lightyear 2, the automotive company plans to give consumers a viable option to contribute to the energy transition.

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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