Amsterdam, February 11, 2019    

The three winners of the 2019 Automotive Innovation Award have been announced. Punch Powertrain, with its new hybrid transmission DT2, has won in the Technology category. The winner of the Services category is the interactive information platform TLEX from Monotch. Lightyear has been chosen as the most innovative idea in the Challenging Concepts category with its Lightyear One, an electric, solar-powered car. The public’s prize also goes to Lightyear One. These innovations, says jury chair Jan Peter Balkenende, confirm the international, innovative capacity of the Dutch automotive sector.

This year, the expert jury, headed by Jan Peter Balkenende, had a tough choice to make from many strong candidates in all three categories. “The Automotive Innovation Award is a biennial tribute to the innovative capacity of the Dutch automotive sector,” says Balkenende. “The candidates in this year’s edition are once again playing at the international level. It is amazing to see what is coming out. These innovations put the Netherlands on the map. Our car manufacturing industry isn’t big, but our components make the difference. Looking ahead, innovation is the deciding success factor in making mobility smarter, cleaner, more efficient and safer. The three winners prove that the Netherlands is setting the bar in this field.”

Automotive Innovation Award 2019 – Technology
In the Technologycategory, the jury had to choose from a strong group of candidates which were often fundamentally different in character. The winner is Punch Powertrain with DT2, a cost-effective new and compact transmission system which can work with different types of hybrid engines.

The jury’s comments: “With DT2, Punch Powertrain has developed a compact and modular alternative for existing systems. DT2 means significant cost savings for manufacturers of hybrid vehicles, and it is bringing electric driving a lot closer.”

Alex Serrarens from Punch Powertrain on winning the award: “We have put so much time into developing this hybrid automatic transmission—10 years and several generations of the product. We’ve built a team of 200 people, a massive investment which is now going to pay off: production will start in 2023 at Groupe PSA, and we already have prospective buyers in Asia. This shows that we’re on the right track.”

Automotive Innovation Award 2019 – Services
In the Services category, with innovations in sharing and service concepts, data collection and management, Monotch has won with TLEX, a platform which connects rest stops with road users for real-time information exchange about traffic conditions.

The jury report reads: “With TLEX, Monotch has developed a platform that can significantly improve traffic flows. It also helps create safer road conditions. The impact that this system can have on the traffic infrastructure is incredibly high.”

Menno Malta from Monotch is extremely proud of the results. “This is a massive encouragement. It’s our dream to connect the road user with the roadside system. This has required patience. Right now, our system is smarter than the roadside system; this has to change within three years when cities will have the connections, and within five years when the connections will span the Netherlands. But our ambition goes even further, including abroad. This is a great step in the right direction.”

Automotive Innovation Award 2019 – Challenging Concepts
In the Challenging Concepts category, with promising innovations in the concept phase and ideas from up-and-coming talent, the award has been given to Lightyear with Lightyear One, the world’s first commercial “native” solar-powered car.

The expert jury said the following about Lightyear One: “With the development of Lightyear One, Lightyear has set high ambitions. By developing a car that is potentially two or three times more efficient than the world’s best EVs, we could be looking at the Tesla of tomorrow.”

Automotive Innovation Award Public’s Prize 2019
In addition to the three winners chosen by the jury, this year also introduced the public’s prize, which was awarded to Lightyear.

Jonne van Veggel from Lightyear on winning both awards: “It takes a lot of work to get this far, and this recognition is really great. It means we’re not the only ones who think this project is important. The public also thinks so. They believe in the future of our solar car, which is why we won the public’s prize. And we managed to convince the expert jury, too. Getting awards is definitely amazing, and now we will move on to the next phase – getting the cars built. The first prototype will be on the road this summer, and by 2020 we need to have a version ready for mass production.”