Rail transport giant Alstom is investing €14 million (US$15 million), and thus taking a minority stake, in EasyMile, a start-up developing the EZ10 electric driverless shuttle. The investment forms part of the start-up’s ongoing capital increase. In parallel, Alstom and EasyMile have signed a commercial partnership agreement aiming at joining their forces to provide integrated solutions for urban transportation. Alstom will be present at EasyMile’s board.
The EZ10 provides shared driverless transportation for the last mile. EasyMile electrical shuttles operate from a transport hub to a final destination within a precinct or confined area. EasyMile shuttles transport up to 12 passengers. Since April 2015, the EZ10 has been deployed in more than 50 sites in 14 countries in Asia, North-America, Middle-East and Europe. Paris is one of the latest cities to begin an EasyMile trial.
The experience and lessons learned through all these projects is continuously integrated in EasyMile products and solutions.
In the frame of its 2020 strategy, Alstom has decided to explore adjacent businesses, especially in the context of digitalization. Through this investment, Alstom expands its knowledge into the driverless technologies and pursues its development in the growing field of smart mobility. We are confident in the success of the EZ10, already tested in different climates and conditions.—Bruno Marguet, Head of Strategy at Alstom
The funds provided by Alstom will be used to accelerate the company growth and support the R&D program. Additionally, EasyMile will benefit from Alstom’s network to increase its global reach.
Founded in 2014, EasyMile is a high-tech start-up specialized in providing both software powering autonomous vehicles and smart mobility solutions. It is based in Toulouse, Singapore and Denver (USA) and employs today 60 employees.
The EZ10 is manufactured by French light weight automobile maker Ligier. Founded in 1971 and with a background in motor racing (including 20 years in Formula 1), Ligier is the second largest European microcar provider. Ligier has marketed electric vehicles since 2008.
The EZ10 electric people mover can transport up to 12 people (6 seating positions and 6 standing positions) and can cater to reduced mobility passengers. The shuttle has no steering wheel and neither dedicated front nor back. At any point on its route EZ10 can easily change its direction without needing a short turn.
An LiFePOsub4 battery provides up to 14 hours of operation with a maximum speed of 40 km/h (25 mph) and a cruising speed of 20 km/h (12.4 mph).