cleantech insights

GreenRoad nets $15M for driving software

Emma Ritch

Redwood Shores, Calif.-based GreenRoad said today it secured $15 million in growth funding for its software and hardware combination that helps drivers improve their fuel economy.

The funding is expected to help GreenRoad accelerate its expansion with enterprise fleet customers.

New investor DAG Ventures led the round, with participation from existing investors Benchmark Capital, Virgin Green Fund, Amadeus Capital and Balderton Capital. The company raised a Series C round of $17.5 million in July 2008 from the previous investors.

GreenRoad said its technology can help drivers improve fuel economy by 10 perecnt. The real-time feedback from the hardware installed on the vehicle provides coaching, reporting and risk analysis tools that the company says can also reduce crash costs by 50 percent.

The technology analyzes a driver’s maneuvers, recognizing unsafe or inefficient movements and immediately alerts the driver and sends feedback to the Web. The company presented the technology to investors at the Cleantech Forum XXI in San Francisco in February (see Hottest startups woo cleantech investors with wide-ranging tech).

GreenRoad expects to sell more than 20,000 vehicle subscriptions by the end of 2009 and close to 200,000 subscriptions by 2011.

The company sells its products in the U.S. …


EV conversion startup keeps focus on Ford

Emma Ritch

Kurt Neutgens knows the Ford F150 inside and out, and he thinks the electric car of tomorrow should be based on something that robust.

The CEO and founder of startup Plug-In Motors of Missouri was the engineering manager of the popular truck, in total working at the automaker for 17 years. Neutgens is now parlaying that experience to convert the Ford F150 and Mustang into plug-in electric vehicles with regenerative braking systems capable of reaching 85 miles per hour.

The benefit of this technology, Neutgens told the Cleantech Group, is that it relies on well-established and robust vehicles.

“You don’t have problems with the roof leaks, the radio problems, and other things that have nothing to do with the electric part of the vehicle,” Neutgens said. “It provides a great, high-quality base, and above that it reduces the upfront investment significantly. We’re talking about millions instead of billions.”

Armed with a prototype of the electric Mustang, Plug-In Motors is now seeking $1.5 million in a Series A to develop demo vehicles and build up a sales and marketing campaign.

Plug-In Motors asks that customers bring in vehicles to be converted. Powered by lithium ion iron phosphate batteries, the conversions cost