Founders: Robert Falck (CEO), Linnéa Kornehed-Falck, Filip Lilja
Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden
Funding: $652.3 million
Key technologies: Artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, machine learning
Previous appearances on Disruptor 50 List: 0
Just as electric vehicles are gaining popularity among consumers, so too are they catching on in the commercial trucking realm. In a quest to reduce carbon footprints and curb air pollution, the transport industry is in the early stages of testing out electric big rigs and other heavy-duty trucks.
Swedish startup Einride is among those looking to swap out the diesel engines that currently dominate the industry in favor of fleets of autonomous electric vehicles. Founded in 2016, Einride has attracted big-name investors such as Temasek, Soros Fund Management and the venture capital arm of one of the world’s largest shipping companies, AP Moller-Maersk. The company deployed an autonomous, electric freight vehicle on a public road in 2019.
Last year, the company got approval to test an autonomous truck, without a safety driver on board, for GE Appliances in Tennessee. As part of the pilot program, the cabless trucks were remotely monitored by a human operator on roads with mixed traffic. More recently, in April, the company announced a deal with PepsiCo to sell two electric semitrucks that will transport potato chips in the U.K. starting in July. The U.K. vehicles will have human drivers for now. The PepsiCo deal gives Einride a foothold in the U.K. to establish a “freight mobility grid” that will enable logistics companies to optimize routes and improve fuel efficiency. Einride’s goal is to have shippers as monthly subscribers to use its vehicles, software and customer support. Einride is also working on establishing Einride Stations, placed at strategic on-road locations, to enable charging.
Einride isn’t the only company eyeing this market. Tesla began delivering its semi heavy-duty electric trucks to PepsiCo in December. The trucks feature a new fast-charging system and can travel 500 miles on a single charge while fully loaded. Before Tesla, Renault Trucks, owned by Volvo, and Daimler, also produced and delivered electric heavy-duty trucks.
There’s still a long way to go. Only 0.1% of heavy-duty trucks sold in Europe were zero-emission in 2021, according to BloombergNEF estimates. Electric trucks are also facing competition from hydrogen-powered vehicles, which boast quick refueling and a longer driving range, unlike electric vehicles. Volvo, which has been selling electric trucks, has also started testing hydrogen trucks that can drive 621 miles before refueling, which takes 15 minutes.
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