Tagged the Greater Region’s biggest annual event for automotive industry professionals, the annual Automotive Day organised by Luxinnovation’s Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster on 5 October 2023, showcased groundbreaking developments in sustainable mobility.  During the event, California-based startup Lyten specialising in advanced electric vehicle batteries and composite materials, signed a memorandum of understanding to establish its European headquarter in Luxembourg.

Lyten’s headquarters in Luxembourg: A perfect fit

The presence of key dignitaries including Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes, Minister of the Economy Franz Fayot, and Lars Herlitz, Chairman and co-founder of Lyten, underlined the importance of this collaboration. Minister Fayot described Lyten as a “perfect fit” and a valuable addition to Luxembourg’s dynamic automobility ecosystem. The startup, founded in 2015, is renowned for manufacturing lithium-sulfur batteries, prized for their lightweight nature, high energy density, and minimal carbon footprint. Lyten’s innovative 3D Graphene, a cutting-edge nanomaterial, aims to push lightweighting capabilities to unprecedented levels in multiple sectors.

“We couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Luxembourg. We view this as a cornerstone in our international expansion. We’re setting up headquarters and expect to do advanced R&D and partnerships. We’ve already started seeing partnerships develop here in Europe. So, this is very important for us,” stated Mr Herlitz. The decarbonisation technology startup has already secured $410 million in funding from private investors such as FedEx and Stellantis and ranks in the top 15 venture-funded defence and dual-use startups recognised in the Silicon Valley Defense Group “NatSec 100” list. It also plans to open an industrial pilot plant in the Grand Duchy.

A thriving automotive industry and market

“Luxembourg is an attractive location for business and a welcoming hub for start-ups. Several new companies and investments in the sector testify of this [e.g. Ohmio, Webasto, Phinia, Livista Energy, Motion-S, UFO Drive, Rafinex, Autopass, MPG], with more announcements to follow,” stated Minister Fayot. He underlined the country’s flourishing automotive industry, marked by significant investments in electric vehicles, charging stations, autonomous vehicle testing, a first hydrogen refuelling station, and the increasing use of advanced materials in car manufacturing, all of which are shaping the future of automobility.

Luxembourg’s attractiveness for innovation was also underscored by the Minister of Finance, Ms Backes, who noted that Lyten is the second American company, after the Bank of America, to set up an office in Luxembourg in one week. This shift signals Luxembourg’s appeal not only in finance but also in other sectors like clean tech and battery innovation.

New solutions on the spotlight

Throughout the Automotive Day, major automotive industry players presented innovative solutions with common themes emphasising e-mobility, modular vehicles, decarbonisation, lightweight technologies, and advanced materials.

Pierre Leclercq, Design Director at Citroën, presented the Citroën Oli electric car concept designed with recyclable parts and extended lifespans, and on display at the Automotive Day. “We’re starting to have cars that will live longer. Cars that we will refurbish and readapt, and that also changes the way we design,” he stated. Alain Blau, CFO at the national rail operator CFL highlighted the increasing multimodal offering in Luxembourg, which includes its recent autonomous electric shuttle, new rail lines, the Flex carsharing system for companies, a new bicycle strategy under development and more. Baudouin Gomot, Gasoline Advanced Component Application Manager at Phinia, brought attention to new hydrogen combustion engines under development in its Luxembourg Tech Centre.

EU’s Commitment to sustainable mobility

Aziz Belaouda, Valeo External Affairs and Sustainable Development Group Manager EGVIA for 2ZERO, emphasised to EUs commitment to multimodal, cohesive, efficient and integrated transport networks and its policy approach for sustainable mobility backed by the Green Deal and several pioneering initiatives like Horizon Europe, and legislative instruments like the Fit for 55 package and the European Climate law.

“The EU has committed to investing in research and innovation. Through programmes like horizon Europe, funding is being funnelled to develop more efficient vehicles, intelligent transport systems and greener fuels for the hard-to-abate sectors. Digitalisation plays a pivotal role in the EU sustainable mobility blueprints. Technologies like 5G and artificial intelligence are being leveraged to create smart cities where traffic flows are optimised, pollution is monitored in real time, and public transport is more responsive to user needs,” he explained. The EU aims to have 30 million zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and has pledged at least €1 trillion in sustainable investments in the coming decade.

Technology demonstrations, guided tours, company visits

The Automotive Day included a roundtable discussion, technology demonstrations, and company visits to key sites, including the CFL intermodal terminal, TotalEnergies Hydrogen Refuelling Station, Sustainable Composite Materials & Manufacturing Innovation Centre (SCMM), Gradel Lightweight, and a guided tour of the Belval blast furnaces.

“One mission of the cluster is to turn ideas into viable collaborative projects with expertise from company, research and public sector,” asserted Anthony Auert, Automobility Cluster Manager at Luxinnovation. He highlighted the already existing Mobility Innovation Campus in Bissen, and the future mobility incubator set to launch in 2024.

“Luxinnovation is one of the founding members of Autoregion, the first European Cross Border Automotive Cluster grouping four regions and representing dozens of companies. This network enables cross-country fertilization leading to world class products and services. A strong collaboration between the neighbouring regions is more than ever important to overcome the challenges we are facing daily,” he concluded.

Photo credit: Luxinnovation/Sophie Margue

Text by: Abigail Okorodus, Marketing & Communication Officer @ Luxinnovation