What role can startups play in smart mobility?

10 of Israel’s top mobility startups are on a great American roadshow with Drive TLV, and Atlanta was their second stop after Silicon Valley. 

This highlighted Israel’s strong connection to the city along with the big opportunities out there for founders looking to shape the future of automotive.

What the future of sustainable mobility looks like was the topic of a panel discussion Wednesday night at  Georgia Tech’s Center for Deliberate Innovation. Drive TLV co-founder Dr. Tal Cohen asked Derek Prichett, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Novelis, and Joe George, President Cox at Automotive Mobility Solutions about trends in the space. 

George presented a clear vision of where he thinks the mobility space is going. “We believe fleets are going to be autonomous, they’re going to be connected, they’re going to be electric, and they are going to be shared,” he told the crowd. 

The two were then asked about what they see as the biggest areas for startup innovation within the sustainable mobility movement. 

For Prichett, it is focusing on the circular economy, the efficient recovery of materials, and how the actual vehicles are produced. That is important as more vehicles are produced with aluminum and the industry needs to find a better way to ensure those components don’t end up in a landfill at the end of a car’s life. 

There is a need to get the grid up to speed for the “electric future,” he added. 

For George, there is a big opportunity in figuring out battery life. 

“In the car business, it’s always been about the odometer and how many miles run your car. And in the electric vehicle future, it’s more about how many electrons have gone into the battery and how the electrons were taken out of the battery,” George said. “If you have an Amazon truck delivering packaged all day and then getting supercharged at night…that lifecycle is going to be a lot shorter than that [of an individual car]. I think there’s a ton of opportunity to take useful batteries and put them into secondary use applications.” 

This is important because ignoring the lifecycle of these batteries could just be moving “the problem from tailpipe to smokestack,” George added.

There was also talk about making sure vehicles are more sustainably produced and designed in such a way that they can handle increased ridesharing and fleet sharing needs. They also see opportunities in last-mile delivery and battery chemistry technology. 


The Atlanta-Israel Connection 

Atlanta was a natural stop for Drive TLV, a Tel Aviv-based innovation hub focused on smart mobility. Co-founder Tal Cohen is a former Georgia Tech professor and told the crowd that  Atlanta and Israel share a heritage of collaboration.” 

Atlanta has a long history in the mobility, automotive, and transportation businesses. But it also has a growing startup scene focused on the space, including accelerators and partnerships forged up at Peachtree Corner’s Curiosity Lab, and a number of startups working on fleet logistics.

Perhaps even more connections between the two spaces could be forged after the 10 startups pitched their ideas to the Atlanta mobility community this week. 

Interested in the startup pitches? Check out what they are building here: