on a roll

Luxe rideshare service with EV evolution plans expands Houston-area coverage to two suburbs

Alto, which plans an imminent evolution into electric vehicles, has expanded its service in the Houston area. Photo courtesy of Alto

Some big news for outside-the-Loop ridesharing users: Luxury rideshare company Alto, which currently operates in Inner Loop and Greater Houston, will expand its current service areas to The Woodlands and Spring.

Woodlands and Spring residents who’ve used Alto in Houston can look forward to the service in December and join a waitlist now. Importantly, new users who register now will receive the first three months of Alto membership completely free. (Be sure to check the site for important details.) Memberships run $12.95 per month, or $119 for annual or family memberships. The company promises unlocked fares that are 30-50 percent lower than usually promoted.

Founded in 2018 and launched in Houston in 2020, Alto elevates basic rideshaing with a fleet of company-owned, clearly branded, 5-star crash rated luxury SUVs. For safety, cloud-based cameras capture both interior and exterior videos of the ride. The company has previously announced its plans to evolve its fleet into being completely electric.

Choosy customers can select their preferred ride “vibe” — meaning an upbeat or chill music choice and even level of conversation with the driver — via the app. Vehicles are appointed with chargers, drinks, and even upscale scents (no smelly trips here).

In effort to create a more consistent customer-service based experience, Alto drivers aren’t contractors or side-hustlers but rather employees who receive benefits. A major benefit: Alto doesn’t put time restrictions on departures, meaning users who are running late don’t have to frantically message the driver.

As those who’ve used Alto are familiar, Alto drivers are professional and personable (without being overbearing) and tend to drive much slower and conservatively — something that should be considered for those behind schedule. Importantly, Alto builds 10 to 15-minute pick up windows to adjust for demand and cleaning between rides.

As for the new area users: consider this a chance to cruise Market Street in The Woodlands or Old Town Spring in regal rideshare style.


This article originally ran on CultureMap.

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A View From HETI

LiNova will use the funds to advance its polymer cathode battery technology. Photo via Getty Images

A California startup that's revolutionizing polymer cathode battery technology has announced its series A round of funding with support from Houston-based energy transition leaders.

LiNova Energy Inc. closed a $15.8 million series A round led by Catalus Capital. Saft, a subsidiary of TotalEnergies, which has its US HQ in Houston, and Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures, also participated in the round with a coalition of other investors.

LiNova will use the funds with its polymer cathode battery to advance the energy storage landscape, according to the company. The company uses a high-energy polymer battery technology that is designed to allow material replacement of the traditional cathode that is made up of cobalt, nickel, and other materials.

The joint development agreement with Saft will have them collaborate to develop the battery technology for commercialization in Saft's key markets.

“We are proud to collaborate with LiNova in scaling up its technology, leveraging the extensive experience of Saft's research teams, our newest prototype lines, and our industrial expertise in battery cell production," Cedric Duclos, CEO of Saft, says in a news release.

CTV recently announced its $500 million Future Energy Fund III, which aims to lead on emerging mobility, energy decentralization, industrial decarbonization, and the growing circular economy. Chevron has promised to spend $10 billion on lower carbon energy investments and projects by 2028.

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