Nearly everything we've known about the automobile industry since the debut of the Model T has been disrupted in just the last decade or so. The culprits for the shakeup include the introduction of ridesharing and the public's embrace of trendsetting automaker Tesla – what with its aspirational, desirable, and affordable electric vehicles. Sensing a monumental shift in consumer demand, heritage car companies are phasing out combustion engines and going all-in on electrification. So, now is a good time to get to know these 5 companies in Los Angeles and Southern California that are accelerating mass EV adoption.
Founded in 2017
Canoo is aiming to be the Netflix of car companies. The startup is producing its own fleet of electric vehicles that will be made available to customers via an affordable monthly subscription. Insurance, charging, maintenance, and repairs will be bundled into the as-yet to be revealed price. The first Canoo automobile is set to launch in 2021 and will be designed for maximum adaptability to autonomous technology. The 400-person startup is lead by executives with BMW pedigree who are reported to be interested in securing $200 million in new capital.
Los Angeles, CA
Founded in 2010
All those electric vehicles coming down the pike are going to need stations to recharge, and EVgo wants to be drivers' go-to destination. The company already boasts the nation’s largest public DC fast charging network and is working on keeping that crown. Currently, drivers can get fully charged in about 30 minutes at one of EVgo’s 740 public EV charging locations in over 66 metro areas. Uber, Lyft, Nissan, General Motors, and Chevron have all struck or expanded partnerships with EVgo this year as automobile and rideshare electrification rapidly accelerates. In 2016, Vision Ridge Partners, a climate action-oriented investment firm, acquired EVgo from utility giant NRG Energy.
Los Angeles, CA
Founded in 2008
Municipalities operate large fleets of vehicles – think police cars, maintenance trucks, cars for government officials, etc. The same is true for large enterprises, whether they’re in the mobility business or not. For these fleets to achieve total electrification, their operations must switch from fuel pumps to dedicated charging infrastructures, and Greenlots is here to assist with the transition. The company helps organizations and communities deploy and maintain electric vehicle charging infrastructures at scale, saving money on fuel costs and safeguarding the environment. In January, Greenlots announced it had been acquired by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell as the oil and gas giant seeks to diversify in the era of electrification.
Founded in 2015
The rise of electric vehicles on US roads is only made possible with advances in energy storage, and Romeo Power Technology has ambitions to develop the safest and most power-dense batteries on the market. The engineering leads behind the venture have backgrounds at Tesla and SpaceX and are leveraging their talents to develop a modular battery pack system with cylindrical lithium-ion cells. Most electric vehicles on the market use pouch or prismatic battery cells, save for Tesla, which has gone the cylindrical cell route with much success. Romeo Power offers the highest energy density by 25% for greater range and faster charging times. The startup has raised $122.6M in funding over 5 rounds, with auto supplier BorgWarner taking a 20% stake.
Santa Monica, CA
Founded in 2015
There’s a couple of car-sharing services out there: Maven, Getaround, Turo, and ZipCar all allow users to rent cars for a few hours or even days. WaiveCar is jumping into the fray with two added caveats that help it stand out from competitors – its cars are electric, and they’re free. Yes, free! Users can simply download the app, find a nearby EV, enter and start the car using said app, and drive around town for up to two hours. Drivers pay a small hourly fee thereafter. WaiveCar is able to offer this low or no-cost service because each of its electric vehicles is wrapped with a vinyl ad and sports a LCD display ad on the top of the car, just like most taxis. The vehicle is basically a billboard on wheels, but it'll take you where you need to go. The company raised $3.3 million over 2 funding rounds and even struck a $500,000 deal with Kevin O’Leary on a 2017 episode of Shark Tank.
Still craving more of our 5 SoCal series? Check out 5 SoCal Companies Lighting Up the Satellite Space.