This article covers companies focusing of providing technology solutions for sustainable and energy efficient transportation. These companies help in promotion and adoption of electric vehicles. It also includes tech companies facilitating access to EVs through dedicated electric ride- or car-sharing networks.
Over the years, it seems the awareness raised by companies in this sector dwindled in the past decade but as of the year 2010 more eyes are watching to see where the heights that this sector would lead to.
There are visionaries, creators and technological experts that are getting involved in order to actively build high end vehicles and vehicle parts. While this trend would sure attract investors, more start-ups are being launched in order to meet the need of the growing population who are trying to make a green revolution in this air polluted world.
Here is a pool of problems faced by start-ups in this sector using the Indian marketplace as a case study:
Problem of imported parts versus the parts made within the country as most imports are from China.
The debate between how green is the electric generated by the batteries used by the cars and how long it takes to charge them.
Batteries take a long time to charge.
Electric Vehicle technology is unsuitable for heavy duty vehicles.
The problem of getting employees to create their own ideas especially in design thinking Implication
The implication that arises from the problems mentioned above are:
Problem of imported parts versus the parts made within the country: This scares start-up from mass production of vehicles because most of the parts to be used aren’t manufactured locally and there is a huge tariff rate on importation.
How green is the electric generated: Start-ups are usually faced with the question on how green their fuel resource is. There is still huge progress to be made when it comes to this and statistics show that only natural gas might be the only green option out there but more study has to be put into this before any progressive move is to be made.
Electric Vehicle technology is unsuitable for heavy duty vehicles: Most EVs run on batteries.
And these batteries take a long time to charge. This poses a problem for creating electric heavy duty vehicles as this would require more power efficient methods which aren’t quite available right now. This has made investors shy away from making bold moves on this industry.
With over 1550+ companies in the sector, 256 funded in last 5 years, $6.34B invested in 2016/17 (YTD). Climate-KIC, Sequoia Capital, GSR Ventures, KPCB, DFJ, US DOE are the
most active investors.
There are subsectors here, they are:
1. Automaker: These are companies focused on developing and manufacturing electric
vehicles. These include companies which develop electric cars, electric two-wheelers,
electric commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses and electric personal transport
equipment such electric longboards.
There have been about 669 registered companies in the past 8 years with an overall funding amount of $6B.
There are 5 categories here:
Two-wheelers: Companies developing two-wheeled electric vehicles such as electric
scooters, motorcycles, mopeds and bicycles.
Non-traditional: Developers of Personal Transport Equipment and other non-traditional Electric vehicles.
Commercial Vehicles: Developers of commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses, vans, etc.
Cars: Companies focused on developing electric cars.
Multi-category Vehicles: Companies which manufacture four-wheelers, three-wheelers and two-wheelers.
2. Components: These are companies focused of developing components for the
electric vehicles and working towards improvement of the technology powering
these components. These include companies working on developing efficient electric
and hybrid drive systems, batteries, motors and power electronics for electric
There have been 144 registered companies in the past 8 years with an
overall funding amount of $2617M.
There are 4 categories here:
Electric Drive Systems: Companies working on the development of electric and hybrid drive systems for vehicles.
Batteries: Companies focused of developing battery and battery management systems for electric vehicles.
Motors: Companies developing motors for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Power Electronics: Companies developing power electronics and motor controllers for
electric and hybrid vehicles.
3. Charging Solutions: Companies working towards developing charging infrastructure
to support electric vehicles and assist is mass adoption of these vehicles. These
companies focus on setting up the charging network and develop plug-in and
wireless charging systems for residential, commercial and public applications.
There have been 284 registered companies in the past 8 years with an overall funding amount of $1293M.
There are 4 categories:
Plug-in Charging: Companies which provide plug-in charging equipment such as charging points.
Charging Network: Companies developing network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Charging Point Locator: Companies providing web and app-based solutions to locate
Wireless Charging: Companies which provide wireless charging solutions for
4. Vehicle-as- a-service: This includes companies providing electric vehicle sharing
solutions resulting in increased adoption of electric vehicles. Vehicle-as- a-service also includes companies which provide electric and hybrid vehicles for short term rental.
There are 73 registered companies and an overall funding amount of $40.5M.
There are 4 categories here:
Cars: Companies offering electric cars on sharing basis, rental basis or providing on-demand taxi services using electric cars.
Scooters: Companies providing electric scooter sharing services.
Bicycles: Companies offering electric bike sharing services.
Multi-category Vehicles: Companies providing different types of electric vehicles for rental or on sharing basis.
5. Conversion Kits: Companies developing systems to convert traditional vehicles to
There have been 35 registered companies in the last 8 years with an
overall funding amount of $9M.
There are 3 categories here:
Bicycles: Companies developing conversion kits to convert pedal bicycles into electric
Cars: Companies developing solutions to convert gasoline powered cars into electric or hybrid mode.
Commercial Vehicles: Companies developing electric conversion kits for commercial
Here is a list of interesting companies in the Electric Vehicle Sector.
LeSEE (2015, Beijing): They are a under development autonomous electric supercar
company with investors like Lenovo, Shenzhen Capital Group, Macrolink Group
Limited, China Minsheng Trust investing about $1.1B.
NIO (2014, Shanghai): They are developers of smart electric cars with investors like
Lenovo, Sequoia Capital, JD.Com, Baidu, IDG Capital Partners, Temasek, TPG,
Tencent, Shunwei, GIC, Hillhouse Capital, Joy Capital, Yiche, Magic Stone
Alternative investing about $1.1B.
Fisker Automotive (2008, Irvine): They are electric car makers. They have investors
like NEA, KPCB, Qatar Investment Authority, Palo Alto Investors, seventysixcapital,
Advanced Equities, Egis Captial Partners, A123 Systems, InvestWithACE, Israel G-
tek, ThomasLloyd investing about $1.20B.
Truth be told, there are so many innovation opportunities to be made in this sector. The problem faced by start-ups in this sector can be overcome by creative thinking and enough funding on research.