California center launches to help e-mobility early-stage companies achieve commercialization

The anticipated launch of the California Mobility Center (CMC) was made official last week as it formally shifted into full commercial operations in support of its mission to accelerate the pace of future mobility commercialization in California and the world, announced CMC’s Board Chair, Arlen Orchard. 

The CMC helps early-stage companies and industry incumbents intelligently navigate the last mile of the innovation process to successfully launch products in the California market, providing access to programming and partnering opportunities, and vetted services and funding sources.

“The CMC is now fully positioned to orchestrate commercially meaningful interactions between future mobility early-stage companies and industry-leading members,” said CMC board member Henry Bzeih and Chief Strategy and Technology Officer Automotive at Microsoft. “Our members will consist of tier 1 suppliers, OEMs, utilities, institutions, government agencies, and higher education and workforce training organizations that have a vested interest in future mobility commercialization and a desire to work with entrepreneurs and innovators in the global future mobility landscape.”

Commercial clients of the CMC benefit from a complete business process review and comprehensive commercialization plan that is implemented with support from CMC’s staff, members and its preferred service provider network. The CMC connects innovators with industry leaders who can collaborate and accelerate the innovation and commercialization process, which greatly reduces the time, costs and risks it can take getting products to market.

CMC’s headquarters in Sacramento offer accessibility to public policymakers and regulators and is in close proximity to leaders in future mobility technology, investors, world-class educational institutions, and award-winning utilities, said the CMC.

“California claims the largest EV market in the free world, sits at the forefront of the future mobility industry, and is the fifth largest world economy,” said Orchard. “These factors made the decision to locate CMC’s headquarter facility in California both an intentional and strategic one.”

While early stage and incumbent company R&D activities can and do happen elsewhere, over 40 percent of new mobility companies and most large automakers have an R&D presence in California. 

“California market requirements heavily influence the commercial viability of products, services, technologies and business models everywhere,” said John Absmeier, CMC board member and Chief Technology Officer of Lear Corporation. “California’s market size is an advantage that makes it unique in its ability to accelerate commercialization that will be applicable across the nation and around the world.”

Prior to launch, the CMC had already signed early agreements with its first commercial clients in late 2020. Zeus Electric ChassisAMPLY Power and DANNAR are three clean mobility equipment and services providers that will be among the CMC’s extensive ecosystem. 

Workforce development

In addition to being an advanced prototyping, testing, and manufacturing facility, the CMC will also train, educate, and develop the workforce talent needed specifically for the mobility sector. Both California State University, Sacramento and the University of California, Davis are founding members, offering companies within CMC’s ecosystem access to a close and highly qualified talent pool that can help them scale and reach commercialization more rapidly. 

“The CMC’s alliance with Sacramento State, UC Davis, and also Los Rios Community College District is the lynchpin for accessing and developing the workforce talent needed to fast-track these innovations,” said CMC founding member and Sacramento State President Robert Nelsen.

“Our institutions not only offer an unrivaled pipeline to a wellspring of motivated, skilled workers, we also provide the CMC access to research, studies, and the thought leadership on key transportation, energy and environmental issues influencing policy and regulatory processes in California, nationally and globally.”

CMC is a non-profit, public-private entity being led by global thought leaders in clean technology innovation including EnerTech, PEM Motion, and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). 

“For all of us that have worked on the CMC from its infancy, we are proud to get to this point in our journey,” said Mark Rawson, Chief Operating Officer of the CMC. “The collaborative effort it has taken to get us to full commercial launch is reflective of the CMC’s overall ethos and we are excited to see CMC’s full potential unfold.”

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