Swedish startup Einride It was founded in 2016 with a mission to electrify trucking. Today, that means designing electric cars and operating systems for exporters transitioning to electricity. In the future, this means the deployment of electric autonomous cargo – specifically EnRide’s autonomous pods, which are purpose-built for self-driving and cannot accommodate human drivers.
EnRide founder and CEO Robert Falk told TechCrunch a year ago that after spending years building heavy-duty diesel trucks on the Volvo GTO powertrain, he felt a moral obligation to create a green trucking environment. He also saw the need to eventually automate the role of long-haul freight.
Falk, a serial entrepreneur, decided against the path many autonomous trucking companies have taken — experimenting with self-driving technology, even if it meant putting sensors and software stacks on diesel vehicles. Instead, Falk opted for a two-step process to bring Einride to market. The first involves working with OEM partners to build electric cars and partnering with exporters to deploy and monetize them. That revenue goes back into the business for the second step, which is setting up a standalone system. When AinRide is ready to go to market with a standalone pod, it will have various commercial shipping partners in the pipeline.
Einride’s current shipping customers in Sweden and the US include Otley, Bridgestone, Maersk and Beyond Meat. The company says it clears about 20,000 items a day.
In the past few months, Einrid has completed a public road pilot of its autonomous pod in Tennessee with GE Appliances, and launched its electric cars in Germany in partnership with home appliance giant Electrolux. Sweden and Los Angeles, and introduced the second generation autonomous pod.
A year after our first interview, we sat down with Falk to talk about the challenges of autonomy in the absence of road connectivity, why Big Tech disruptions are healthy for the industry, and what the consolidation of autonomous driving looks like.
The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity.