DSM and Lightyear join forces to scale the commercialization of integrated solar roofs for the electric vehicle market

Geleen, Helmond (NL), 14 May 2020 - High-tech mobility innovator Lightyear and Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, have signed an agreement to jointly scale the commercialization of Lightyear’s unique solar-powered roof for the electric vehicle market. With this solution, both companies aim to accelerate the global adoption of a broad range of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Specifically, the partnership aims to integrate solar-powered roofs in a variety of electric vehicles, including cars, vans and buses - thus enabling users to charge their vehicle directly with clean energy. The companies are teaming up to assess the market, starting with pilot projects for customers from the automotive and public transport sector, where the integration of a solar roof could represent a smart investment.

Today, the global EV market has enormous growth potential. It was valued at $160-plus billion in 2019; and is projected to reach $800-plus billion by 2027 according to international market assessments from Bloomberg, IDTechEx and TIME. To accelerate this growth, the EV industry now needs to overcome the twin hurdles of limited range and grid-dependency.

The alliance between Lightyear and DSM addresses this need by enabling various EVs to increase their range through energy harvested directly from the sun. The integration of a solar roof is expected to be a good investment in multiple EV market segments.

Technology developed for Lightyear One

This technology was initially developed by Lightyear for the solar panels of Lightyear One. Lightyear One is set to be the world’s most efficient long-range solar car when it launches in 2021 – with a WLTP range of 725km. Featuring five square meters of integrated solar cells protected by double-curved and super-strong safety glass, the solar roof captures sunlight continually whether the car is moving or stationary. The result is that in optimized vehicles like Lightyear One, the solar roof can deliver enough energy to cover an average of 70-90% of the yearly mileage.

DSM’s Conductive backsheet is an integral element of the solar roof - enabling all the connections of the solar cells to be put on the back of the solar panel - thus making every available centimeter on the front of the module available for capturing sunlight. The reduction in electrical (cell-to-module) losses not only delivers a 3% increase in power output; it has the added advantage of contributing to a more stylish sunroof with aesthetic appeal.

Pascal de Sain, Vice President DSM Advanced Solar: “By stepping up our collaboration with Lightyear we are creating an entirely new market for ‘lossless’ high power back-contact technology - with the potential to change the face of clean mobility and make a big impact on climate change. We look forward to bringing more than a decade of market and scientific leadership in solar to this collaboration. Our goal is simple; to make clean, solar energy a reality for all.”

Martijn Lammers, Lightyear’s Chief of Strategy and Co-Founder: “We want to revolutionize the way that people travel. By scaling up the accessibility of our solar technology through our partnership with DSM, we can accelerate the mass adoption of electric vehicles by making them sun-powered.”

Sustainability leaders

Ultimately, this partnership will enable a new generation of smart solar-efficient solutions from two sustainability leaders that share a common goal: Ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable modern energy for all (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal no 7). In fact, the DSM company strategy is fully aligned with these goals as part of its purpose-led, performance-driven strategy of creating brighter lives for all; and now, even brighter motoring.

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Notes for editors

DSM – Bright Science. Brighter Living.™

Royal DSM is a global, purpose-led, science-based company active in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living. DSM’s purpose is to create brighter lives for all. DSM addresses with its products and solutions some of the world’s biggest challenges while simultaneously creating economic, environmental and societal value for all its stakeholders – customers, employees, shareholders, and society at large. DSM delivers innovative solutions for human nutrition, animal nutrition, personal care and aroma, medical devices, green products and applications, and new mobility and connectivity. DSM and its associated companies deliver annual net sales of about €10 billion with approximately 23,000 employees. The company was founded in 1902 and is listed on Euronext Amsterdam. More information can be found at www.dsm.com or www.dsm.com/solar.


Lightyear is on a mission to make clean mobility available to everyone, everywhere in the world. Lightyear develops electric cars with an energy-efficient design and integrated solar panels. This allows motorists, depending on the climate, to drive up to twenty thousand kilometres per year on sunlight. The fast-growing company was founded in 2016 and currently employs more than one hundred employees. The team is made up out of a mix of young talent and experience from the automotive industry, including former employees of Tesla and Ferrari. In less than three years, the company raised funding of more than thirty million euros through reservations, investments and grants. Lightyear also won the CES Climate Change Innovator award and became a finalist in the Postcode Lottery’s Green Challenge. 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 edition of 946 pieces. www.lightyear.one

Forward-looking statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements with respect to DSM’s future (financial) performance and position. Such statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections of DSM and information currently available to the company. DSM cautions readers that such statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict and therefore it should be understood that many factors can cause actual performance and position to differ materially from these statements. DSM has no obligation to update the statements contained in this press release, unless required by law. The English language version of the press release is leading.

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