“Transportation is the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The question is how do we make progress on the decarbonization of transportation, and where are the solutions going to come from? Days like this—where academia, entrepreneurs, and industry come together to dig into innovative solutions—are going to be where progress really happens.”
That’s how Greentown Labs’ CEO Emily Reichert kicked off this winter’s Transportation Pitch Day, the latest in a series of pitch days focused on solutions to the key greenhouse gas emitting sectors. The quarterly Sector Pitch Days convene cleantech startups, Greentown’s most engaged partners, investors, academics, and others for a holistic dive into the future of these sectors.
The three opening speakers represent widely different angles of the transportation sector. Joanna Moody, the research program manager for the MIT Energy Initiative’s Mobility Systems Center, is a social scientist: she looks at a range of factors affecting transportation’s future, including consumer choice, infrastructure, and service models.
Her main takeaway for the audience? Behavior change and outlook are crucial to moving away from internal combustion engines.
“The car is really seen as an aspirational good,” Moody explained. “We measure the symbolic value that people attribute to a car, particularly focused on how they symbolize social status. The influence of car pride on car ownership is as strong as the influence of an individual’s income.”
Chris Robinson, a senior analyst at Lux Research—one of Greentown’s Gigawatt-level partners—then turned the conversation to market research. He shared what policies the countries with the highest rates of electric vehicle adoption have in common, including not just EV incentives, but also costly taxes on internal combustion vehicles. Norway, the leader in EV adoption, also offers discounted tolls and parking to EV owners and has high gas prices, Robinson said.
From there, Jordan Stutt of Acadia Center—a nonprofit research and advocacy organization—spoke about statewide and regional efforts to drive pollution-reducing carbon programs, including the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
The Transportation Pitch Day then zeroed in on a crucial topic: how corporates can work with startups in transportation. Startup and corporate collaboration is key to bringing much-needed cleantech innovations to market, and offers major benefits to both businesses. The panel on this collaboration featured four of Greentown’s partners: the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Draper, Keysight Technologies, and EDF.
On the topic of partners, Reichert introduced a new Terawatt-level partner, Keolis North America. An industry leader in public transportation, Keolis has taken steps to minimize its energy consumption and strengthen public transit around the world.
Then came perhaps the most exciting section of the day: pitches from nine startups, which gave the audience a look into what’s at the cutting-edge of transportation infrastructure, logistics and optimization, and vehicles. Learn about the startups below!
SparkCharge is creating a more efficient and connected world of transportation by solving the problem of range anxiety with their ultra fast, portable and modular charging station for electric vehicles.
SomEV provides a wait-less charging network for light electric vehicles, using swappable batteries paired with a smart battery swap kiosk.
Ivys Energy Solutions is passionate about making the hydrogen future possible and driven to make fuel cell vehicles the norm rather than the exception. They are enabling this market by developing and providing safe and cost-effective fueling solutions.
Logistics + Optimization
WaveSense is enabling robust all condition autonomous vehicle lane keeping using radar fingerprints of the roadbed.
Promethean Power Systems operates diesel-free reefer trucks using its thermal battery technology that deliver refrigerated food without the need for compressors on its trucks.
Titan Advanced Energy Solutions is developing advanced battery management systems for lithium ion battery consumer electronics, automotive, and storage markets. Their patented technology provides accurate and instantaneous state of charge and state of health.
Blackburn Energy’s RelGen system creates inexpensive, clean and “quiet” electric power in long haul trucks enhancing driver comfort, addressing EPA restrictions on engine idling, reducing maintenance cost, providing significant fuel savings and increasing truck up-time.
C-Motive Technologies is delivering electrostatic motors better suited to this emerging world, with more torque, less weight, better cooling, less gearing, and less maintenance than conventional approaches.
Sunforge manufactures advanced Maximum Power Point Tracking solar charge controllers, providing power when you need it most. Their technology is used in a variety of applications, including enterprise transportation, RV, marine, and more.