Martijn Lammers (Lightyear) about the right transportation at the right time

Martijn Lammers (Lightyear) about the right transportation at the right time

Multiple Dutch companies are working on the future of mobility and defining how we will move around in the next couple of decades. One of these pioneers is Lightyear. This year, they will be launching the first solar-powered passenger car ever: the Lightyear One. The idea for Lightyear One came from the campus of the Eindhoven University of Technology. Here, the same crew that won the 2013 World Solar Challenge, decided after graduating that they wanted to start a company that would contribute to a better world.

Funnily enough, they wouldn’t describe Lightyear as a car brand: “Our goal is not to make cars, but to create mobility. That would make us more of a mobility company than a car brand,” says Martijn Lammers, Lightyear’s Chief Strategy.

Because his role is very future- oriented and because he has a personal interest in sustainable mobility, Lammers contributed to our mobility report in 2020. This interview was also published in our report in 2020: Vision on Mobility: En route to 2050.

Martijn Lammers van Lightyear
Martijn Lammers, Chief Strategy at Lightyear.


Monoculture of solutions

The first thing we want to know of Lammers is what he feels is our biggest mobility challenge right now. According to him, we’re looking for one, single solution – “a monoculture of solutions” – while he believes in a combination of “many solutions that connect really well together”. Either way, he doesn’t think that the problem is the number of different mobilities, the cost or the pressure on certain types of transportation. It’s more about the balance of the distribution among these mobilities. He feels that “someone – maybe policy makers” should make sure there’s a “level playing field” that comes with clear rules for which transparency is crucial, so that one company or type of transportation isn’t favored over another. People have to be honest about what’s the most sustainable way of distributing that transportation, and then consumers will automatically choose the best option.

Visie op mobiliteit: Lightyear

Changing business model

Lightyear contributes to this by making sustainable driving more accessible. Now, consumers often tend to think that electric driving, for example, is expensive and impractical, and Lammers would like to show people that sustainable driving is equally carefree as driving using fossil fuels, or, as he says: “Making the product so good that it naturally becomes the best way to move around.” On the other hand, he also believes that one sustainable company does not make a sustainable society. That’s why Lightyear feels that it’s paramount their business model fits in with their own ideas about sustainability and other sustainable initiatives.

Because only then you can achieve real sustainability. They are now looking into options to shift their future business model from earning per product sold to earning per mile driven. Lammers: “[…] then you don’t make a car so that people need to buy a new one every five years, but a car that people can drive as much as possible.”


The car in the right place

As for the near future, Lammers thinks that if you put the car in the right place in the mobility chain, it becomes available to people who normally can’t or won’t use a car and that this will automatically generate a price point per mile that you could never achieve when owning a car. Over the next five years, he also sees a place for this pay-per-mile model in the development of micro mobilities, such as the OV-fiets (public transportation bike) and the shared scooters that he himself really likes. Additionally, he is curious as to how we will organize medium to long-distance trips: “[Will we] divide traffic over railways, planes, and cars or will we [make] combinations: use a plane for the outward journey and the car or train for the way back?” he wonders.

Lightyear could provide a possible solution in this. Their vision is to make an ‘open-source’ product and make it available to the public, so MaaS apps can integrate Lightyear with other mobilities. Lightyear “won’t be the next Uber, but the perfect car for Uber,” according to Lammers.


“One sustainable coffee doesn’t make a sustainable society, all initiatives should be connected.”

Visie op mobiliteit: Lightyear

Not shorter but farther

A little farther down the road – 30 years to be exact – Lammers thinks that with every trip, we will look at what best fits our needs at that time and that we will use multiple modes of transportation that will be the same in each city, making them easy to use. He doesn’t think that the number of trips will increase or decrease, but that we will, for example by Hyperloop, travel farther in the same amount of time: “You will start to travel farther because it becomes faster and more efficient but you will still spend about an hour and a half each day moving around,” states Lammers.


Everything will become more sustainable

Lammers thinks that everything – not just cars – will become more sustainable in the future and that consumers will also demand this as being sustainable becomes more affordable. He’s not worried about it becoming even busier on the roads: “This brings me back to the point that it would be nice if people were to use the right transportation at the right time.”


New times come with new challenges

Although Lammers is very optimistic about the future, he doesn’t think our mobility issues will vanish completely: “I think that mobility will always come with challenges,” he laughs. Therefore, he doesn’t believe in the perfect solution. “Everything will continue to grow and change, including the consumers’ wishes, which will in turn change the mobility landscape as a whole,” he says. That’s why Lightyear, like so many other initiatives, places the user experience at the top of their list and includes their customers in their design process. “And because of this [our product] will continue to get better. This is something I really believe in, and has been our starting point,” he concludes.


3 lessons


2020 We are focusing too much on a single solution, while a combination of solutions would work much better

2025 Paying per mile will ensure that people start using cars in the same way as micro mobilities

2050 All mobility will be sustainable, sustainability will become cheaper, and consumers will demand it


Read the complete report

Mobility is a comprehensive topic, not easy to oversee or predict. In order to understand how mobility will develop towards 2050, we asked eleven experts from mobility providers, the government and academics about their vision on future mobility. Participants in this report are KiM, ANWB, Hely, 9292, Ministry of Infrastructure and Watermanagement, Parkbee, the Municipality of Utrecht, De Verkeersonderneming, TU Delft, Lightyear and NS.



Download - Vision on Mobility: en route to 2050

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