For better or worse (probably worse), Los Angeles is a car city, so it’s perhaps not surprising that most of the innovation in cleantech from the region comes out of the electric vehicle space. But there’s more going on in L.A. beyond EVs. Companies are innovating in everything from construction, to upcycling, to the consumer energy grid to cut carbon and make the future more sustainable. Here’s a quick list of some of the companies we thought made the biggest moves in 2021.
Eve Energy Ventures Inc (Xeal)
Eve Energy Ventures is an electric vehicle charging company. Also known as “Xeal,” the Venice-based corporation provides charging stations for apartments and workplaces. In October this year, the company announced that it raised $14 million to install upwards of 10,000 new charging stations across the United States. What sets Xeal apart from other charging tech is that their chargers do not require Wi-Fi connectivity between the vehicle and the charger. Instead, the company relies on another emerging technology: blockchain. Users download the app and receive a cryptographic token that shows the location of all Xeal chargers, and then the chargers themselves can authenticate the token without the need for Wi-Fi, which can be hard to come by in concrete parking structures.
Enervee is a company that rates appliances and products based on their energy efficiency. Retailers can then sell products in Enervee’s store where scores appear next to products to try to help consumers make more efficient purchases. The Venice-based software company allows retailers to sell products at discounted rates that are made possible by applying Energy Saving Instant Rebates at the time of purchase. The ultimate idea is to help consumers find the most energy efficient products and buy them at the lowest cost possible, from washing machines to automobiles. This year, Enervee announced a financing partnership with San Francisco-based fintech company One that allows consumers expanded financing options for their energy efficient purchases, mostly focused on lowering monthly payments. The State of California and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) are also participating in the financing program.
Another EV charging company, EVgo made headlines over and over this year for building strategic partnerships with giants like General Motors, Uber, Tesla, and BMW. The company also won grants and funding from various state governments, including California, to expand their charging station offerings. The Los Angeles-based company boasts that 80% of all Californians live within 10 miles of one of their fast chargers, and the company has more than 800 stations nationally across 34 states. Last week, the company announced that their PlugShare app surpassed 1 million downloads in 2021. With electric vehicles forecasted to make up half of all vehicles by the end of the decade, EVgo’s could wind up on this list several more times in coming years.
Heliogen Inc. makes a concentrated solar energy system that uses a series of mirrors to concentrate sunlight into a small area and produce steam. In addition to heat and power, this year the Pasadena-based company announced a partnership with Bloom Energy Corporation to use their technology to produce green hydrogen energy as well. If that wasn’t enough, Heliogen also unveiled an autonomous robot that helps install and maintain concentrated solar energy plants. With backing from Bill Gates, the company is reportedly planning to go public via a 2-billion-dollar SPAC deal with Athena Technology Acquisition Corp.
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