Ford Motor Company and Newlab announced the five startups that will participate in the inaugural cohort of the Mobility Studio—a new program focused on supporting the advancement of technologies, product collaborations and business models that drive a cleaner transportation future. The program lives within Michigan Central, a new mobility innovation district being developed by Ford. This is the second of two studios opening as part of the partnership announced in 2020 between Newlab and Michigan Central.
In its first year, the Mobility Studio will help the companies pilot the development of a range of transformative services and technologies to spur more widespread commercial adoption of electric vehicles.
Newlab and Ford selected the following companies from a competitive pool of global applicants to participate in the Mobility Studio’s first cohort and help address major challenges faced by fleets as they consider transitioning to electric vehicles, such as connected fleet management, supporting drivers at home, multiuse charging hubs and vehicle-to-everything applications:
Autofleet: Autofleet is a vehicle-as-a-service platform enabling companies, organizations and municipalities to optimize vehicle fleet management, launch new mobility services with their existing vehicles, and plan and design strategic shifts in operations, such as electrification. The platform centrally optimizes fleet operations, breaking the dependence on driver decision making, and is designed to achieve the benefits of an autonomous fleet, starting today with traditional vehicles. Autofleet has partnered with Avis-Budget Group, Zipcar, Revel and Keolis, and manages tens of thousands of vehicles in more than 12 countries.
EVPassport: EVPassport is an electric vehicle charging company that is establishing a distributed fleet charging ecosystem incorporating multiunit dwellings through a cloud-based, application programming interface-driven hardware and software platform. Fleet owners can now pay for charging sessions at multiunit dwellings, while delivering their drivers a frictionless payment experience to charge any electric vehicle without requiring a separate app, account or top-up balance.
Fermata Energy: Fermata provides a complete solution that lets electric vehicles receive power from and provide power back to the grid and to buildings by integrating software, hardware options and knowledge, turning electric vehicles into energy storage assets that combat climate change, increase resilience and dramatically lower cost of ownership.
Rhombus Energy Solutions: Rhombus develops new electric grid infrastructure, energy distribution and management systems, as well as advanced charging solutions to speed the adoption of electric vehicles. Rhombus builds bidirectional charging networks for electric passenger cars and high-power electric fleets—such as buses, garbage trucks and delivery vehicles—along with energy management software, power conversion, storage systems and microgrid applications to maximize the efficient, clean energy distribution capabilities of electric vehicles.
SparkCharge: “Currently,” by SparkCharge—a charging-as-a-service platform—s a mobile, on-demand electric vehicle charging network built to make charging easy and convenient while addressing gaps in the charging infrastructure. Through the company’s mobile app, Currently, subscribers can have the charge delivered to their vehicle on the spot, utilizing SparkCharge’s portable, modular charging unit, The Roadie. Currently is operating in Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans to expand to several more cities soon. You can download Currently today for both iOS and Android.
This past spring, the Mobility Studio announced an open call for companies developing frontier technologies and novel products to apply to participate in the first cohort. In the coming months, member companies will work closely with Newlab, Ford and industry stakeholders to deploy technologies and services that help make electric vehicle commercial fleets economically and logistically viable. While the studio ultimately lives within Michigan Central, the startups in the first cohort will test in different locations across the country.