Swedish self-driving start-up Einride raises $110m

06 May 2021 - 12:16 By Reuters
The Einride Pod is an electric self-driving truck without a driver cabin.
The Einride Pod is an electric self-driving truck without a driver cabin.
Image: Einride

Swedish electric self-driving vehicle start-up Einride said on Thursday it has raised $110m (roughly R1.6bn) in its latest funding round, including new investments from Maersk's venture capital arm and Singapore state investor Temasek.

This brings the total amount Einride has raised to $150m (roughly R2.1bn) and the fresh financing will be used to scale up deployments with the start-up's major customers in Europe and the US.

The company has developed the Einride Pod, an electric self-driving truck without a driver cabin.

Einride's customers include Coca-Cola Co and Electrolux.

CEO Robert Falck told Reuters Einride has between 10 and 20 vehicles and aims to use the funding to have five to six times as many operating, mostly in the US. He declined to give a specific valuation for the company but said it is approaching $1bn (roughly R14.3bn).

Self-driving technology for freight trucks has attracted investor attention as it should be easier and cheaper to roll out than in self-driving cars and robotaxis, while providing a clearer path to profitability.

“Long-term investors are really looking for that opportunity to make this shift happen,” Falck said.

Self-driving freight services run on fixed routes between predefined points — mostly on major highways without intersections or pedestrians — requiring less mapping than shuttling customers between random points in robotaxis.

TuSimple Holdings Inc plans to demonstrate its self-driving truck technology using semi-trucks without human drivers in the fourth quarter.

Daimler AG unit Torc Robotics is preparing to test its self-driving trucks in New Mexico and Virginia.

Einride's new investors also include Nordic venture capital firm Northzone.

“We believe that both electric and autonomous will be the future of freight,” said Jessica Schultz, a general partner at Northzone. “We think that the market is at an inflection point, where you will see a big shift to first electric and then autonomous.”