This afternoon the new Lightyear production hall was officially opened at the Automotive Campus in Helmond. In the summer of 2019, the first prototypes will roll out of the hall. In addition, the young car company has announced a collaboration with the leasing company LeasePlan.
The construction of the production hall went very quickly. “We are here in a brand new production hall, of which we got the keys last Friday”, says Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear. “At the beginning of the year this was only an idea and now we are at the spot where two production lines will be located.” Mayor Elly Blanksma shows herself very enthusiastic about the young company and says she is happy that after a long time, cars will again be produced in Helmond: “Helmond is the place to be for Lightyear. Early this year, someone came to me to tell about his dream, a startup that will conquer the future in the automotive industry. That was Lex Hoefsloot.” Only, the Automotive Campus lacked a building where production could start, so Hoefsloot suggested at the time to look for a production facility somewhere else in the Netherlands. But mayor Blanksma did not want that to happen: “If the first prototypes of a Dutch production car have to be built somewhere, it is here, in Helmond, in Brainport. As governments, we have been able to make this possible and we are very happy with that.”
With the announcement of a partnership with a leasing company, Lightyear wants to reach a wider audience. Erik Henstra, Managing Director of LeasePlan Netherlands, tells more about the collaboration: “Lightyear shows that it is possible to drive electrically on solar power. As a leasing partner, we want to offer our customers the opportunity to make a powerful sustainability statement by driving the world’s first solar car for consumers. In addition, this cooperation contributes to our ambition to make our own fleet completely emission-free by 2021 and our total fleet of 1.8 million cars by 2030.” The Lightyear One will be leaseable for 1,946 euros per month by the beginning of 2021.
Although the hall is only just finished, Lightyear is already short of space. The company, which about two years ago only consisted of a small number of enthusiastic students, now has more than a hundred employees. Therefore, next to the hall, a new office is being built. The director of the Automotive Campus, Lex Boon, is very enthusiastic about how fast Lightyear is growing: “At a certain point they came knocking on our door every month because they needed more space. That growth is really spectacular, they show ASML-like figures.”
According to Boon, the entire Automotive Campus benefits from Lightyear’s growth. “Lightyear brings a lot of new parties to the Automotive Campus, who are interested in having their own branch in Helmond. It has a suction effect. Also, companies that are on campus here get more exposure, all thanks to Lightyear.”