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Statement from LACI CEO on President Biden’s Executive Actions on Climate

LOS ANGELES, CA — Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator CEO and President Matt Petersen released the following statement in reaction to President Biden’s announcement of executive actions to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad, create jobs, and restore scientific integrity across the federal government.

“We applaud President Biden’s bold executive actions on climate today which make clear that our nation can and will tackle climate, economic, and racial justice together. We know that moving to zero emissions transportation and 100 percent clean energy is key to economic growth, green job creation, and climate action. Disadvantaged and frontline communities suffer the worst consequences of air pollution and the extreme heat and other climate impacts, yet also lack adequate transportation options. These important actions laid out by the White House will get us to the future our team at LACI is working to build every day.

“The order to replace the federal vehicle fleet with EVs moves the nation one step closer to a zero emissions transportation future and sends a powerful signal to the marketplace. As the former Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles, I know the purchasing power of the government and the power of the federal government’s purse is enormous. President Biden’s executive action will help create demand for EVs and reduce the fuel and maintenance costs for government agencies. 

“We look forward to working with the Biden Administration to reduce climate and air pollution, improve public health, put Americans back to work, and restart our economy through his $2 trillion Build Back Better infrastructure stimulus plan. That’s why over 75 local governments, utilities, labor groups, cleantech startups, incubators and corporations across 16 states are supporting the Transportation Electrification Partnership’s comprehensive $150 billion federal stimulus proposal for manufacturing EVs, installing charging infrastructure, supporting zero emissions public and active transit, accelerating workforce training, and unlocking innovation from startups, including underrepresented founders.”

LACI’s Leimert Park Pilot Increasing Zero-Emissions Mobility Options In South LA

E-Bike Rentals and Electric Shuttle Service Launched With Community Input


LACI recently launched its fourth community pilot in Leimert Park with a consortium of community partners to bring zero emissions mobility to the South LA neighborhood. The pilot is the fourth pilot launched under the Zero Emissions Mobility and Community Pilot Project Fund, which provides clean and affordable transportation solutions as well as benefits of the green economy through workforce development and job creation. The Leimert Park Pilot provides courier and commuter e-bike rentals from Zoomo and neighborhood electric vehicle shuttles from Circuit. In addition, ghost kitchen and delivery service, Chewbox, is the third participating company that will expand their service offering to include Leimert Park’s own South LA Cafe specialties to patrons across LA County. 

Funded by the California State Legislature via GoBiz to support zero emission transportation in underserved communities, LACI selected and deployed technologies after deep community engagement in the Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor community that included outreach to local elected officials, business owners, and grassroots organizations to assess their greatest transportation needs. 

“The issues of racial, economic, and climate justice are inextricably linked–working hand-in-hand with one of Los Angeles’ historically Black communities, it’s our goal to create an inclusive green economy,” said Matt Petersen, LACI’s President and CEO. “ Launching this fourth community pilot in Leimert Park was quite special — especially because of the extraordinary input we got from so many community leaders who we are proud to call partners.”

“For far too long, people of color and poor communities have borne disproportionate harm from air and climate pollution. I’m excited that LACI and their community partners are launching this project in Leimert Park that lacks access to zero emissions mobility solutions,” said Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-Los Angeles). “I’m proud that the legislature and State is supporting this project, and hope that this community pilots program can serve as a model for other programs in underserved communities in the L.A. region.”

“I am thrilled to see this pilot in Leimert Park which continues to be a hub for creativity and innovation in South LA,” shared Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). “This initiative is helping to revitalize our local workforce while offering timely options for our residents to travel safely during this pandemic. The courier shuttles and electric bikes provide solo transportation that helps protect our environment and the health of our communities.”

“LACI’s partnership with South L.A. businesses is the type of work that will help our Black and Latino entrepreneurs sustain through this pandemic. The small business community continues to innovate and serve our neighborhoods during these difficult times,” said L.A. City Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson (D-8). “Our city must continue to support small businesses and connecting them to new technology and transportation options is a great way to help them connect with residents.”

“It’s indisputable that the impacts of pollution are profound and that we need to move with a sense of urgency in our transition to cleaner, greener mobility solutions. I’m proud that not only are we piloting this potentially impactful initiative in Leimert Park with LACI, but that we’re doing it in a way that engages our entrepreneurs and supports our local workforce,” said L.A. City Councilmember District Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-10). “We don’t have to choose between a healthy environment and good jobs—we can and we must have both.”

Two of these local businesses, Ride On! Bike Shop and South LA Cafe, have participated in LACI’s Founders Business Accelerator, and are organizers and activists in their community. Another community partner is Ben Caldwell, artist, filmmaker, activist, and founder of KAOS Networkz. Caldwell is also a founding member of SankofaCity, a Leimert Park led initiative focused on afrofuturism designs for urban technology that include automated Neighborhood Electric Vehicles built locally. 

We Love Leimert, a local organizing group focused on creating sustainable opportunities for Leimert Park residents, was engaged to run a digital community feedback campaign on select zero emission mobility options. The Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District (GLPVCC), Community Build Inc., Destination Crenshaw, and the Community Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) / Institute for Maximum Human Potential also helped with community outreach and project scoping. 

 The pilot program began in November and features technology from Circuit, a neighborhood electric vehicle shuttle service, offering both flag down and on-demand (via a mobile app) service within the designated pilot coverage area. Circuit was also recently accepted into LACI’s latest Market Access program. 

Chewbox, a software platform for ghost kitchens, is partnering with South LA Cafe. The South LA Cafe menu and eventually Market will be offered on the app and be delivered on set routes throughout LA County. This partnership will pilot their drink delivery service as well as be the first onboarded third-party restaurant which will test the increased revenue goals Chewbox aims to deliver. Chewbox is also a member of LACI’s latest Market Access cohort.

, e-bike rentals for couriers and commuters, is partnering with local Ride On! Bike Shop / Co-op to host the rental service. Ride On! Bike Shop / Co-op will not only be the location of service but also receive a revenue share. Complementary to the e-bike rentals launched for local couriers, rentals for commuters began at the end of the year. 

In addition to the technologies and services deployed in Leimert Park, this six month pilot will focus on local hiring for shuttle drivers, e-Bike mechanics, and operations staff. The pilot will run training and education workshops and seek to establish partnerships with local groceries and restaurants for food delivery to support local businesses during the pandemic and beyond. 

“We Love Leimert is proud to partner with LACI, Ride On Bike Shop, and Kaos Networkz to propel the Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor community into the future by providing access to clean and green transportation technology via the zero emissions mobility pilot,” said Kaya Dantzler, Co-Lead Organizer of We Love Leimert. “Our section of South Los Angeles is well known for our contributions to LA’s rich art and culture scene and we have so much to contribute to the development of our city beyond the creative industry. Given that, it’s exciting to contribute to an effort that  combats the destructive impacts of the systemic economic and environmental racism that has plagued South LA for decades and expands the green economy in our community.”

“Circuit is extremely excited to have partnered with LACI and the local community to provide an innovative and eco-friendly transportation option for a part of town that is currently underserved by public transportation, and we have seen immediate success,” said Daniel Kramer, Director of Operations and New Business at Circuit. “We look forward to building on this success and providing connections to public transportation in the area as the Leimert Park community continues to grow.”

“As the founder of ChewBox, and a native of both Watts and Silicon Valley, I am proud to leverage technology to empower hard working low income households with greater access to the gig economy. LACI was highly instrumental in helping us secure a pilot partnership with South LA Cafe, resulting in a rare symbiosis: where two black-owned companies join forces to expand their collective reach, resources, and reinvestment in the community,” said Kim Gaston, / Chewbox Founder. “As a result, we can offer discounts on chef made meals to families throughout LA County, and with every purchase delivered donated meals to those in need, all while providing jobs and gig work to low income families.”

Statement from the Transportation Electrification Partnership Regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s Proposed 2021-2022 Budget

LOS ANGELES, CA – “On behalf of the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP), we applaud and thank Governor Newsom for including $1.5 billion for infrastructure and incentives in his budget proposal to implement the state’s bold zero emission vehicle goals to create jobs, advance equity, and electrify goods movement. This is a key step toward achieving our bold regional targets by 2028, and statewide goals by 2035 and beyond. We also look forward to working with the Newsom Administration and the Legislature to advance our proposal for a California EV Authority to ensure we meet these goals while growing our economy and ensuring all communities benefit from these proposed investments.

TEP is calling for the creation of a California Electric Vehicle Authority (CEVA) to enhance the coordination and financing tools needed to accelerate the transition for vehicles and charging infrastructure while boosting equity, job creation, workforce training, and economic development. The CEVA was introduced in the last legislative session via SB633 by Senator Henry Stern.

In addition, we need to work with our federal partners to support transportation electrification here in greater Los Angeles, across California, and throughout the nation. To help put people back to work, restart our economy, and clean our air, LACI and 74 companies, business organizations and labor groups across the country have advocated for a $150 billion federal stimulus proposal to be included in infrastructure stimulus in response to the economic crisis precipitated by the COVID pandemic.”


The Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) is an unprecedented regional public-private collaboration to accelerate deep reductions in climate and air pollution by the time of the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games by pursuing bold targets, pilots, initiatives, and policies that are equity-driven, create quality jobs, and grow the economy.

Current members include:

Leadership Group: Mayor Garcetti, CARB, County of Los Angeles, LADWP, LA Metro, Southern California Edison, LACI

Advisory Group: Audi of America, BMW Group, ENGIE Impact, Nissan of North America, PCS Energy, BYD Motors, Normal Now sponsored by Electrify America, Greenlots, Itron, Proterra, AMPLY Power, Burbank Water & Power, Clean Power Alliance, Culver City, East Bay Community Energy, Glendale Water & Power, Inglewood, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union 11 / National Electrical Contractors Association Los Angeles County, Metrolink, Pasadena Water & Power, Santa Monica, Southern California Public Power Authority, Tesla


Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is creating an inclusive green economy for the people of Los Angeles by: unlocking innovation by working with startups to accelerate the commercialization of clean technologies; transforming markets through partnerships with policymakers, innovators, and market leaders in transportation, energy and sustainable cities; and enhancing communities through workforce development, pilots, and other programs. Founded as an economic development initiative by the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP), LACI is recognized as one of the most innovative business incubators in the world by UBI. In the past ten years, LACI has helped 236 portfolio companies raise $508 million in funding, $272 million in revenue, and create over 2,100 jobs in the Los Angeles region. Learn more at

LACI Announces First Year of Investments from $5 Million Early Stage Impact Investment Fund

Exactly one year ago, LACI announced the LACI Impact Fund (LIF) for early-stage cleantech startups, as part of a relaunch of its cohort-based startup program. The $5 million LIF considers investment in LACI portfolio companies that are in good standing, have an active round of investment with a lead investor, and have demonstrated strong commitment to impact. The LIF provides our startups with an opportunity to have access to capital that aligns with LACI’s social impact priorities. In 2020, LACI invested in 6 companies, with a number of companies in its pipeline for future investments.

LACI-incubated startups are eligible to apply to the LIF if they: A) have an open and active round with a specified lead; B) secure a sufficient score based on their commitment to environmental, social and economic impact. Startups selected for this year’s incubation cohort will be eligible for investments as well. The application deadline is this Friday, January 15. Startups selected for LACI’s incubation program and for the LACI Impact Fund must focus on one of LACI’s Technological Priorities: Zero Emissions Transportation, Clean Energy and Circular Economy.

“Through the LACI Impact Fund, we are delighted to invest in our startup companies that are working day in and out to create an inclusive green economy,” said Matt Petersen, Managing Director of the Fund and CEO of LACI, reflecting on the investments to date.

The launch of the LIF included investments in Seatrec and FreeWire. Subsequently, 6 companies received funding from the Impact Fund in 2020, and continue to scale their products into markets across the country and world. All LACI Impact Fund companies are listed below:

  • Ampaire
    Founders: Kevin Noertker & Cory Combs
    Company Mission: Ampaire is designing and developing high performance zero-emission aircraft to help improve efficiency and reduce aviation’s impact on climate change.
  • Envoy
    Founders: Aric Ohana & Ori Sagie
    Company Mission: Envoy is committed to providing affordable, convenient and sustainable shared mobility to communities by offering Mobility as an Amenity™ where you live, work, or stay.
  • FreeWire
    Founder: Arcady Sosinov
    Company Mission: FreeWire Technologies provides clean, quiet mobile power and fast charging that’s easy to deploy, wherever and whenever you need it.
  • Nature Coatings
    Founder: Jane Palmer
    Company Mission: Nature Coatings transforms wood waste into high performing black pigments.
  • Pick My Solar
    Founders: Max Aram & Chris Blevins
    Company Mission: Pick My Solar is the first managed marketplace for the residential solar and energy storage market.
  • Repurpose
    Lauren Gropper
    Company Mission: Repurpose is a line of sustainable tableware that looks out for the health of you, your family, and the planet.
  • Seatrec
    Founder: Yi Chao
    Company Mission: Seatrec designs and manufactures energy harvesting solutions that generate electricity from naturally occurring temperature differences in ocean waters.
  • Xeal
    Founders: Xander Isaacson & Nikhil Bhardwaj
    Company Mission: Xeal accelerates electric vehicle adoption by making charging stations work anywhere for anyone.

The LACI Impact Fund will continue investing in new cleantech innovation throughout 2021. To find out more about the LACI Incubation Program or the Impact Fund, please visit LACI’s Incubation Program. Applications for the 2nd Incubation Cohort program are open until January 15th, 2021. 

Accelerating a Reliable, Clean Energy Future

This past summer California experienced extreme heat due to the climate crisis, exacerbating and challenging the electric grid to maintain reliable electric service. The result of raging wildfires and prolonged heat waves combined with other grid planning factors led to power outages and rotating blackouts that had not occurred since the 2001 energy crisis.  Severe weather conditions, like the summer heat wave, create new challenges in keeping the lights on, exacerbating grid weaknesses, and disproportionately putting vulnerable communities at risk. 

In response to the climate crisis which is impacting California at a pace ahead of scientific models, Governor Gavin Newsom has announced his commitment to explore accelerating the state’s decarbonization goals, including the goal of a clean energy grid by 2045. At a press conference in fire-stricken Butte County, Newsom stated, “I think 2045 is too late” to get to a clean energy grid. 

These distressing conditions can serve as a catalyst to develop an electric system that can better withstand the consequences of climate change, while accelerating our move to clean energy as well as transportation electrification. As such, the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) supports the Governor’s commitment to accelerate the transition to a clean energy grid that was established by groundbreaking legislation in SB 100 and his recent Executive Order to accelerate the deployment of electric transportation. 

These market signals from California policy makers, along with a Biden Administration that is supportive of an ambitious and equitable clean energy revolution, call for innovation from our state’s entrepreneurs. At LACI, we are demonstrating how these clean technologies will enable this improved, resilient grid through startups, partnerships, and pilots.

Exactly one month before California experienced its first of two rotating blackouts, LACI launched a small-scale electric vehicle (EV) community car-share pilot that is illustrating resiliency on the electric grid. LACI, in partnership with community partner Pacoima Beautiful, Envoy – a LACI startup – and Nissan deployed EVs to a community center in the San Fernando Gardens housing development, while keeping the needs of the community front and center. At the core, the pilot provides affordable and accessible clean transportation options, which are critical to the low-income community that is also burdened by poor air quality and can lack access to transportation. 

To ensure resiliency, we incorporated an off-grid, solar-powered electric vehicle supply equipment with battery backup that can serve as an emergency source of power for portable devices in the event of a power outage.  As the public and private sectors work together to create a clean, reliable electricity grid, we need to think creatively about how we can incorporate these types of solutions across every neighborhood.

Along with off-grid and local clean energy solutions, a modern, reliable grid will also need to solve for utility scale technologies. California has done an incredible job of accelerating the adoption of solar energy with approximately 28,000 megawatts installed since 2005. As Governor Newsom moves to accelerate solar and clean energy ahead of 2045, the fast deployment of various forms of storage is necessary. Alumina Energy, another LACI startup, provides distributed and utility energy storage solutions that turn renewables into 24-hour dispatchable resources that are cost-competitive or lower than fossil fuels. Alumina’s technology is a packed bed thermal energy storage that has a 30+ years life cycle – making it cost-effective and a long-term solution. This type of distributed and utility-scale technology becomes even more critical when we think about the diverse set of solutions we’ll need to properly respond to the disruptive and different types of extreme weather events. 

(Pictured: the launch of Pacoima Electro-Share with
Pacoima Beautiful and Envoy in the early summer of 2020)

Lastly, when we think of grid resiliency, we also need to consider the energy-transportation nexus. California is a leader when it comes to clean transportation. The state has a goal for there to be 5 million EVs on California roads by 2030 and recently, the Governor signed an executive order to phase out the sale of new gas-powered passenger cars and trucks by 2035 and a transition to 100% zero-emission heavy duty short-haul drayage trucks by 2035 and other heavy-duty vehicles by 2045. 

LACI and the Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) are working towards a target of 30% of all passenger cars in LA County to be electric by the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As we work with our partners to advance progress towards these goals, we are supporting the discovery of new technologies that are needed to enable greater use of EVs and the efficient dispatch of energy, as needed, to support the grid. AMPLY Power and NeoCharge are two LACI startups that demonstrate this insight. AMPLY Power offers customized charging solutions to commercial fleet operators that optimize grid conditions to maximize savings. NeoCharge optimizes EV charging solutions in a manner that makes charging more cost-competitive for apartments and condos, while also supporting the needs of the grid. Additional work is needed to ensure these types of vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-building technologies are incentivized to come online to support grid resiliency. 

As California establishes new climate goals, we need to keep in mind that we need to move aggressively and inclusively to meet the needs of a clean and reliable energy grid. These recent heat waves, combined with massive wildfires throughout the state, demonstrate that we need to act now. LACI will continue to drive forth solutions and innovations with the public and private sectors to ensure an equitable, clean, and reliable energy future.

Second Cohort of Market Access Program Provides On-The-Ground Mobility Solutions For Communities Across Los Angeles

LACI recently launched its latest cohort of our Market Access program, which is designed to scale startups through transformative energy, transportation and circular economy pilots and supportive services. Series A startups in Southern California with less than $25 million raised were invited to apply and we admitted three companies who are now working with our teams to put their innovative tech into practice and into communities around Los Angeles.

Startups involved with the pilots receive: grant funding and access to LACI’s Impact Fund and Debt Fund; connection to government and corporate stakeholders; project scoping, implementation management, and evaluation advice throughout the 1-2 year-long pilot term with in-depth pilot measurement, analysis, and reporting including quarterly and final reports; and access to Market Transformation pilot partners.

This second cohort includes the teams at Circuit and Chewbox, which are integrating their tech in our zero-emissions community pilot program that recently launched in Leimert Park. The other company in this cohort is Automotus, which is working with our team to set up the first-in-the-nation zero-emissions last-mile delivery zone in downtown Santa Monica. 

Circuit makes transportation easier, greener, and more enjoyable by building on-demand, last-mile shuttle services for cities around the US. Using an on-demand app, fleets of electric cars, and teams of W2 drivers, they’ve provided over 3.5 million rides without charging a dollar or burning an ounce of gas. In Leimert Park, Circuit’s two Neighborhood Electric Vehicle shuttles operate within a set coverage area for on-demand service from Thursday through Sunday.


ChewBox provides a cloud-based OS for ghost kitchens, making opening a restaurant as simple as launching a Twitter account. They are working with South LA Cafe in the same community to pilot cafe and market delivery across Los Angeles County, making it their first new restaurant integration.

Automotus is a computer vision company that helps cities better understand and manage their increasingly complex curb space while also helping commercial fleets get more dedicated access to the curb. Working with our pilots team in a 1-mile radius in downtown Santa Monica they will help develop a blueprint for cities to adopt zero-emissions delivery zones for last-mile delivery and best practices for integrating sidewalk delivery robots, e-Scooters, e-Bikes, light-, medium-, and heavy-duty EVs, as well as commercial EV car shares on our city streets.

These pilots that employ each of these companies’ tech will provide immediate benefits to the local community with reduced air pollution, GHG emissions, noise, and congestion, as well as improved safety. Additionally, they will provide economic opportunity to small businesses and individuals through access to zone benefit, workforce development through local hires and cleantech job training, and help create an important mode shift for goods and people movement in Los Angeles. 

LACI’s first cohort in the Market Access program included URB-E and Envoy, which successfully deployed their tech in community pilots in Long Beach, Pacoima, and San Pedro. URB-E scooters were deployed with the Long Beach Conservation Corps and Envoy’s EV car-sharing service is currently being used in communities that previously had little to no access to EVs in their neighborhoods. 

To learn more about our startup incubation programs please visit here.

2020 LA New Mobility Challenge Winners Announced

Last week’s LA New Mobility Challenge at CoMotion LA Live’s three-day summit saw over 120 entries from startups around the world, all competing with solutions in mobility or smart infrastructure. Ten semi-finalists were selected to pitch in the Goods Movement and the People Movement competitions seen worldwide.

After two dynamic pitch sessions, LACI CEO Matt Petersen and CoMotion Founder John Rossant announced the winners at the close of CoMotion LA Live.

SankofaCity won the “People Movement” category for its community pilot program that engages South Los Angeles communities of color to co-create zero emission first-last mile Multimodal Transportation Ecosystems. LACI recently worked with SankofaCity to launch our latest community mobility pilot in Leimert Park. 

Zeti HQ won the “Goods Movement” category and the grand prize of the LA New Mobility Challenge for its pay-per-mile digital financing platform to accelerate the adoption of EVs. Zeti HQ will receive an all-expenses paid trip to present at SparkLabs Korea DemoDay16 in 2021, the largest accelerator demo day in the world as well as three months of mentoring from SparkLabs partners or Venture Partners, the right to join Urban Movement Labs as a partner alongside mobility luminaries like Lyft and Verizon, and exposure to the LACI team and an opportunity to apply for its world-class startup incubation programs.

The panel of judges consisted of Alex Nesic (Drover AI), Amelia Armour (Amadeus Capital Partners), Anthony Ferguson (UK Department for Transport), Bernard Moon (SparkLabs Group), Beth Kigel (HNTB), Julia Thayne (Los Angeles Mayor’s Office) and Taj Ahmad-Eldrige (LACI). 

Semi-finalists in both categories presented impressive solutions, including MIMO Motor, Maxwell Vehicles, Flare Bright, ElecTorq Technologies, Dynamic Ideas Routing, Eli Electric Vehicles, Inc.,, inc., and TransforMax. 


LACI Incubation Program Cohort 2 Recruitment is Live

Over the past eight years LACI has worked with hundreds of startups companies to help them raise outside funding and gain traction in the market—empowering startups to increase their social, economic and environmental impact in their community. 

One year ago, we distilled our best practices, improved our curriculum and added benefits to create a premier cohort-based Incubation Program. Today, we are excited to open recruitment for our Incubation Program, Cohort 2, launching March 2021.

What’s LACI looking for in Cohort 2?

Our eligibility criteria remains the same as before, but our focus areas have been impacted by the dramatic events of the past year.  

Most obviously, COVID-19 has profoundly accelerated pre-existing societal changes. Remote work and e-commerce, for example, are nothing new, but they’ve seen explosive growth this year. For that reason, we are more bullish than ever before on zero emissions last mile urban goods delivery and remote-sensing for energy infrastructure.

The negative consequences of climate change became ever more apparent in 2020, especially in California. Raging wildfires and prolonged heat waves combined with other grid planning factors led to power outages and rotating blackouts that had not occurred since the 2001 energy crisis. This underscores the market opportunity for wildfire resiliency, flexible load technologies and vehicle to building solutions.

Finally, at the state level, California policy makers once again demonstrated climate leadership, including California Executive Order N-79-20. This landmark order requires not only that 100% of passenger vehicle sales be zero emissions by 2035, but also that signals that 100% of heavy-duty drayage truck operations be zero missions by then as well. This will open up new business opportunities for charging infrastructure for multi-unit dwellings and business models for electric heavy-duty truck infrastructure.  

Why should you apply?

Take a look at our Incubation Cohort 1 and how we’ve pivoted with our startups. Eight months in, we’re proud to say that Cohort 1 is thriving. ChargerHelp, for example, won the MIT Solve Digital Workforce Challenge. SparkCharge closed a $3.3M seed round, followed by making a successful deal on the season premiere of Shark Tank. NeoCharge launched the world’s first UL-certified Smart Splitter. Xeal became the first in the cohort to secure an investment from the LACI Impact Fund as part of their seed raise. And Power Day gave each of our startups the chance to share what concepts they’re piloting in the community. 

For Cohort 2, LACI is once again looking for startups that are investable based on founders, team, market, business model, technology innovation and competitive advantage; have a product that is ready to be  piloted; and are looking to increase their social, economic and environmental impact.

If you think you have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of Amply, Repurpose, Freewire or Ampaire, check out the application here.  Apply by January 8 for our March cohort intake. Not sure if your venture is a fit, or have questions about the program? Shoot an email to or book a time to chat.

EV Showcase Pilot Project Findings can Accelerate the Adoption of EVs in the Workplace

Since 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), in partnership with LACI, has run electric vehicle (EV) pilot projects at LADWP’s La Kretz Innovation Campus (LKIC), home to 32 EV chargers and a 178.5 kW solar carport. The project, better known as the “EV Showcase,” seeks to monitor the environmental benefits of solar paired with EV charging, financial benefits provided to EV drivers, and public charging usage trends. The groundbreaking EV Showcase project, using LKIC as a living lab for clean technology, works with LACI portfolio companies such as graduated startup companies MOEV, Perch and Freewire to demonstrate the latest technologies for EV adoption. Since its inception, the project provides compelling evidence that public and workplace charging influences EV charging adoption and showcases the benefits of a tied-in solar/battery microgrid system with EV charging benefits. These findings reinforce that the goals set forth by LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP) can be reached by deploying clean energy solutions and EV infrastructure.

Setting Bold Goals 

Los Angeles has set bold sustainability goals in the Green New Deal for LA. Elevating these goals further, LACI’s Transportation Electrification Partnership (TEP)—an unprecedented multi-year partnership among local, regional, and state stakeholders to accelerate transportation electrification—created the Roadmap 2.0 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and air pollution by an additional 25% beyond existing commitments by 2028. To reach this goal, the following EV adoption rates must be met: 

  1. 30% of all cars are EVs, and 80% of car sales are EVs.
  2. 20% of all trips shift to public or active transport.
  3. All public investments into goods movement are zero emission. 

In addition, the Roadmap 2.0 calls for 84,000 public and workplace EV chargers in order to support 30% of all cars on the road being EVs. LACI’s pilots, such as the EV Showcase in partnership with and founded by LADWP, aim to inform regional sustainability initiatives that bring the TEP Roadmap 2.0 goals to reality. As the region sets its sights on these aggressive goals, there is a need to understand the incentives, public usage trends and environmental benefits behind workplace and public EV charging and the added benefits of pairing solar to offset power from the electric grid. The findings from the EV Showcase at LKIC can inform regional and utility supported programs that incentivize workplace EV charging, policy making and LADWP rate and infrastructure decisions. 

If You Build Them, They Will Come 

In November of 2018, 16 EV chargers were installed at LKIC, doubling the overall number of chargers on campus before the deployment. The installation included two direct-current fast chargers (DCFC) in collaboration with LADWP and EVgo, and 14 Level 2 chargers donated by LACI TEP member Greenlots. Before the installation, 16 Level 2 chargers on campus supplied ~6,100 kWh per month – enough power to fuel 18 EVs, based on average monthly vehicle miles driven1. With the additional 16 chargers installed, usage increased immediately and the average monthly demand for EV charging more than doubled throughout 2019. This resulted in enough fuel to power the average monthly vehicle miles driven by 43 EVs per month (~13,900 kWh). These adoption rates have also been incentivized by LADWP’s commitment to moving the needle on public and workplace charging. Level 2 charging on campus is offered free to campus members. By removing these financial barriers to EV adoption, in 2019 campus members collectively saved more than $38,000 compared to fueling costs of driving a gas vehicle the same distance. 

Furthermore, when building owners and parking lot operators deploy public EV charging at a workplace, not only will the employees use the EV chargers during the day, but EV chargers will also attract local and nearby EV drivers outside the workplace. For example, at LKIC, charging during evenings and weekends accounts for nearly half (48%) of all EV charging consumption, supplying enough power equivalent to the average annual distance driven to power an EV 20 times. The EV Showcase pilot also unveils interesting user preference findings due to the different types of chargers on campus. Findings from the EV Showcase suggest EV drivers prefer different charging capabilities (Level 2 or DCFC) based on the time of day and the day of the week. For example, 80% of all DCFC electricity consumption in 2019 took place outside of work hours, from 5PM – 8AM during weekdays and all day during weekends. In comparison, during weekday work hours, from 8AM to 5PM, 70% of all EV charging is consumed by the Level 2 chargers. The breakdown of charging consumption by time and type of charger is shown here on the right.


Pairing Solar with EV Charging Achieves Significant Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions

LKIC generates enough electricity from the 714 panel, 178.5 kW solar carport, to meet 100% of LKIC EV charging consumption, while also providing excess clean solar to the regional electricity grid. During 2019, solar generation on campus provided enough electricity to power 43 EVs annually. This carbon-free electricity equates to roughly 487,300 pounds of GHG emissions reduced. The conversion also equates to 24,871 gallons of gas avoided, the annual electricity consumed by 37 American homes, or the carbon sequestered by 246 acres of forests2. In addition, the solar carport generates 16,091 kWh more electricity than is needed for EV charging, sending additional clean electricity back to the power grid or to maintain the grid integrity of the La Kretz Innovation Campus through the synergy established through the battery energy storage system. 


EV Showcase Pilot Proves TEP Goals are Achievable

To achieve an additional 25% in GHG and air pollution savings beyond existing Green New Deal commitments, early adopters of workplace charging need confidence in deploying public EV charging to meet TEP Roadmap 2.0 2028 goals. At LKIC, charger deployments of this magnitude have already been met.

To achieve the TEP goal, that 30% of all cars in Los Angeles are EVs, and 80% of car sales are EVs by 2028, the TEP Roadmap 2.0 calls for 84,000 public and workplace charging stations by 2028. That translates to 2.2 charging stations per 100 employees (in an office building) in LA County3. At LKIC, with 256 employees and 32 chargers, there are 12.5 charging stations per 100 employees. LKIC has nearly 6 times more EV chargers than the needed amount to reach TEP goals by 2030. This infrastructure serves as the model for large scale commercial electrification plans.  

Los Angeles has just eight short years until the world arrives in our city for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2028; this is an incredible opportunity not only to have clean air and reduced GHG emissions, but also to highlight LA’s sustainability leadership. Leaders who adopt technologies such as EV charging and solar can accelerate EV adoption and reduce GHG emissions. Applying the learnings from pilot projects like the EV showcase are just one of the ways LACI is paving the path to an inclusive green economy. 

Water Tech Companies Are Springing Up in LA

In many areas of the world, there may be no more precious commodity than water — and that’s especially true in Los Angeles. So, it’s probably not surprising that L.A. has become a font of activity for companies looking to tap the water market in myriad ways. “I think Los Angeles is definitely a hub of water innovation because we have to (be),” said Matt Petersen, president and chief executive at downtown-based Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator. “We are dependent on water imported from hundreds of miles away to make the life we enjoy here possible,” he added.