Lightyear welcomes new Chief Operating Officer Dr. Bernd Martens to join the Management Team

As production of its first solar electric vehicles has started, the company brings more expertise on board for its operational endeavors

Lightyear COO Bernd Martens

Helmond, the Netherlands, December 7, 2022 – Lightyear, the high-tech company producing the world's first solar car, has announced the appointment of Dr. Bernd Martens, former member of the Board of Management at Audi AG, as its new Chief Operating Officer (COO).  Bringing with him three decades of experience in the industry, Martens will be responsible for overseeing critical areas of operations, including production, purchasing and quality.

New strategic opportunities

Previously being involved with the company as a senior advisor, Martens aims to support Lightyear strategically in the transition from producing its first solar electric car model, Lightyear 0, to the design and production of its mass market model, Lightyear 2. He is preceded by Hans Heijmans who is now the Managing Director of Lightyear’s team developing its patented solar panel technology. This further positions the company to achieve its mission of clean mobility for everyone, everywhere.

“I am thrilled to be joining Lightyear as COO and contribute to making the mobility sector more sustainable and convenient for consumers,” says Dr. Bernd Martens. “My major goal is to implement Lightyear 2 in the framework of the business case, considering technology, cost, budgets, quality and time. I look forward to focusing on the steps towards production of our next model including a competitive supply base and a highly efficient contract manufacturer.”

A wealth of automotive experience

Martens’ career started over 30 years ago at Mercedes and continued through the years in higher executive levels at Volkswagen and Audi offices all over the world, including Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and Italy. His experience in funding, procurement and IT has made him a reliable advisor in the automotive industry.

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO and Co-Founder at Lightyear, says: “While our approach includes going back to the drawing board and thinking outside of the box to reinvision mobility technologies, obtaining more knowledge about the industry is incredibly important for us to be able to bring clean mobility to the broader market. We are very grateful to onboard Bernd as COO and look forward to further unpacking his extensive knowledge as we shape the operational processes of our company.”

This announcement comes after Lightyear successfully commenced production of its first solar electric vehicle, Lightyear 0, at the end of November, with the first customer delivery being fulfilled this year.

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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