Background car news

Second chance for Brabant-based Lightyear, investors from South Korea

August 1, 2023

Bernd Martens and John Heller

Lightyear announces the appointment of Bernd Martens and John Heller as new members of its Supervisory Board. Lightyear expects the addition of these two experienced industry leaders will strengthen its operations and contribute to the company’s mission to make mobility more sustainable.

Bernd Martens

Dr. Bernd Martens has an extensive resume in the automotive industry as a former member of the Executive Board of Audi AG.  Martens has previously contributed to Lightyear as a Senior Advisor, but began his career in the auto industry more than 30 years ago at Mercedes-Benz. Over the years, Martens then held various senior positions at Volkswagen and Audi, among others, around the world, including Germany, Brazil, Mexico and Italy. “His experience in finance, procurement and IT makes him a trusted advisor in the automotive industry. He has been appointed to the Supervisory Board and will add his expertise to operations and strategic planning,” Lightyear said in the official press release.

John Heller

In addition to Martens, John Heller joins the Supervisory Board, an experienced director with a strong track record in corporate governance. From 2017 until recently, Heller was CEO of the Louwman Group, a family-owned company that has been in various mobility products and services for 100 years. Prior to joining the Louwman Group, Heller held positions as director and CEO in the banking and insurance industries, including at Nationale Nederlanden and the ING Group. Heller’s appointment further strengthens Lightyear’s commitment to effective oversight and governance.

Bernd Martens and John Heller of Lightyear

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear

Lex Hoefsloot, CEO of Lightyear, said, “We are grateful to welcome Bernd Martens and John Heller to our Supervisory Board. Their extensive industry knowledge, leadership qualities and operational experience make them very valuable additions to Lightyear. “The expertise of both, in building and leading organizations, will play an important role in guiding Lightyear in its upcoming phase.”

Lightyear Layer

Lightyear’s ultimate goal is to put the Lightyear 2 into production, but the company is also investing in Lightyear Layer. This provides solar energy solutions that reduce the carbon impact of mobility and reliance on charging and increase operational freedom and convenience. By harnessing the power of the sun, Lightyear Layer’s offerings contribute to a more sustainable future and reduce dependence on traditional energy sources. More information about Lightyear Layer has not yet been released.


Lightyear’s mission is to enable driving on nature’s greatest energy source, the sun. An important role is played by the battery-electric car Lightyear 2, which can also recharge additional energy with some solar panels.

Lightyear 2

Late 2025

Production start of the Lightyear 2 is scheduled for late 2025. The car should be able to run for “months” on solar power alone, according to its makers. But that is only under favorable conditions. The makers behind the company also cite an exceptionally low energy consumption of 100 Wh/km, about two to three times less energy than any other electric vehicle on the market today. On paper, the Lightyear 2 has a range of about 700 kilometers. According to Lightyear, the car should be able to drive 7,000 to 20,000 kilometers each year on pure solar power. Presumably Lightyear is partnering with a South Korean party to make the Lightyear 2 a reality. Footage has surfaced at KNN News showing CEO Lex Hoefsloot signing an “Investment Agreement” with Sunbo Angel Partners and Lighthouse Combined Investment Co., Ltd.

Sunbo Angel Partners and Lighthouse Combined Investment Co., Ltd.

Sunbo Angel Partners is a global venture capital firm that invests in start-ups, but also mentors and connects them with key stakeholders. Lighthouse is a venture capital firm founded by mid-sized companies in the southeastern manufacturing industry. How much money both parties are pumping into Lightyear is not clear.