Lightyear Connect App

An inspiring mission and an impressive product: we are proud to contribute to Lightyear's solar-powered car by building the new companion app together with design partner Hike One.

In 2022, Dutch start-up Lightyear unveiled the final production model of its solar cell car. Together with design agency Hike One, we built a native app for iOS and Android that connects to this innovative car. Lightyear Connect shows information about energy level and range, and makes it possible to unlock the car.

App as an extension of car
Lightyear aimed to make the app, intended purely for drivers, an extension of the car. With the app, the driver can manage the car: open the door, start it, check the battery status, et cetera. And thanks to a link with weather data, we predict when the solar car is fully charged. In addition to these practical features, the app is also a communication channel between the user and Lightyear, in which engagement is an important guideline.

Native versus cross platform
Because the feeling that the app evokes is so important, we have created a challenging concept with an exciting UI / UX together with Hike One. To really let it shine, our advice was not to choose a cross-platform technology such as Flutter. In addition, we had to take into account third parties, for example for the digital key, who use native SDKs. So we needed some native implementation anyway. That is why, in consultation with Lightyear, we ultimately opted for native iOS and Android apps (built in SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose).

Simple and understandable
An important feature of the app is to show what energy the sun generates. In this way, a driver is better able to adjust his or her plans, for example by charging the car extra via the power grid. We have put a lot of effort into making these predictions as accurate as possible, including taking into account the actual solar power and the angle of incidence of light. All these details are abstracted away in the app itself to make the predictions as simple and understandable as possible. We have built a completely new library for these graphs.

In addition to actually building the app, we also helped Lightyear with new insights into the total experience of such an innovative car. The customer experience, for example, was still unexplored territory: how does someone who is not a techie deal with all the necessary data of the car? What does the driver want to know? And how can you convey that in an informative, nice and simple way? So we have brought together the experience in the car itself and the digital experience. In terms of technology and experience, Lightyear has thus obtained a very good basis for further developing their apps!