It is hard to believe today that the first practical electric car, with a rechargeable battery, popped up sometime in the mid-1800s. Since then, electric vehicles (EVs) have been in the decline compared to internal combustion engines.
Over the last 10 years, however, a changing climate, rising pollution, and the alarming rate of depletion of fossil fuels and other natural resources have forced the development of electric vehicles. While such transportation can have a lasting impact on the environment, people still hesitate to buy them as electricity itself is currently generated using fossil fuels like coal and oil. Just like how lead-acid batteries allowed for recharging the electric car over 100 years ago, the EV industry today needs advancements in energy and storage technologies to make more people buy electric vehicles.
Top 5 Global Electric Vehicles Startup Hubs
Using our Startup Search Engine covering 1.000.000+ startups & emerging companies, we analyzed the geographic distribution of global activity for electric vehicles. We identified 25 regional hubs (hub = the regional geographic center of activity for a specific topic; it covers the center point with a radius of 100km (62mi)) that see high activity in developing solutions in this field. According to our data, London, Los Angeles, the Greater Silicon Valley area, New York City, and Amsterdam account for 18% of global activity in this field.
The United States shows the highest activity for electric vehicles with a global share of 34%. Top European hubs in the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and the Netherlands account for 24% of global activity. Asian giants, India and China contribute around 10% of global activity in electric vehicle development. While there are no hubs in South America and Africa, there are several companies developing electric vehicle solutions.
The delicate balance between traditional OEMs, fossil fuel extractors, and new electric players requires good government policies and stronger community support. This could lead to a rather haphazard manner of development for the industry that is also dependant on other energy storage technologies for wider adoption.
Let’s take a look at some of the electric vehicle startups from the 5 top hubs globally:
#1 London | 37 Startups & Emerging Companies
Famous for its narrow and numerous one-way roads, London, along with Bristol, develop exciting solutions for sustainable urban mobility. Innovations in new energy sources, storage, and real-life applications make this an important hub for electric vehicles.
London-based startup Lavelle Bikes develops electric-powered bikes keeping in mind the congested roads and polluting cars. They design ergonomic bikes that come equipped with a 36 V 500 wh battery that can go up to 45km (28mi) per hour. Built with popular features like automatic gear shifts, anti-theft alerts, and personalized workout programs, these bikes are suitable for most roads.
#2 Los Angeles | 29 Startups & Emerging Companies
The traffic jams in Los Angeles keep getting worse every year as more cars ply their roads. Unlike in London, where roads are narrow, LA has broad roads and sprawls across several kilometers, making it ideal for developing radically innovative, autonomous, and electric vehicles.
The future of mobility may not be like the cars of today – in design or operation. After working on this for many years, Irvine-based startup Helix Motors develops unconventional but intelligent electric vehicles. Their Dynamic Steering Control System (DSCS) tilts the three-wheeled vehicle cabin safely and automatically like a motorcycle. Equipped with a range of 322km (200mi) and speeds exceeding 160km/h (100mph), Helix could redefine the way we commute in the near future.
#3 Greater Silicon Valley Area | 28 Startups & Emerging Companies
Home to some of technology’s biggest names, Silicon Valley is also a global innovation hub, having produced several disruptive ideas over many years. The sheer scale of innovations and range of industries operating here allows for robust and disruptive solutions for the future of electric vehicles.
Set up in Santa Clara, Seres develops the SF5 and SF7, electric cars that look and feel like the cars of today but have enhanced safety and user interaction features. Seres’ cars come equipped with LiDAR, Radar, HD cameras, and Ultrasonics to ensure safety and convenience for the driver. Their e-powertrain is developed to give drivers better control and acceleration.
#4 New York City | 21 Startups & Emerging Companies
Strengths in advanced manufacturing and robotics, cybersecurity, and health and life sciences subsectors make New York City one of the largest innovation hubs in the world. Autonomous and electric vehicle development is taking off all across the city.
Based out of Brooklyn in New York City, Tarform Motorcycles develops an all-electric, fully sustainable, and intelligent bike that is already in production. Designed to have all the features of a motorcycle but without the pollution, they even use biomaterials in place of other unsustainable material. Equipped with up to 80 horsepower, it can travel at almost 160km/h (100mph) and has an upper-limit range of close to 273km (170 mi). Riders can choose from a smaller 9kwh battery or a more powerful 13.5kwh battery.
#4 Amsterdam | 21 Startups & Emerging Companies
The Netherlands is home to a vibrant, and collaborative startup ecosystem. Innovation friendly policies and access to high-quality incubation centers and research and development facilities make it an attractive place for startups. When it comes to mobility, they imagine that roads will not be widely used in the future and electric vehicles connected to renewable energy grids will become the standard way to move around.
Dutch startup Silverwing develops electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, fixing their gaze firmly in the future. The S1 eVTOL is designed to fly at 140km/h (87mph) with a range of 60km (37mi) and can carry up to 90kg of payload. With a compact design that has a smaller footprint than a traditional sedan today, this vehicle does not require any special infrastructure to start operations. It can fly at a maximum height of 200m (656ft) and produces 87 decibels of sound.
As we can see from these examples, electric vehicles are being designed better and are capable of performing in similar ways to the vehicles we use today. As innovative startups target industries and households to develop high-quality EV solutions, the government will also have a role to play in ensuring urban mobility is less dependant on petrol-guzzling vehicles. This will mean smarter roadways that can accommodate different types of electric vehicles and the entire EV infrastructure. The future of mobility promises to be silent, efficient, and much better for our environment.