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Texas loses speed among top EV states, apps open for Greentown program, and more things to know this week

Texas has some room to improve when it comes to EV states, one report found — and more things to know this week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: applications for a Greentown Labs program has opened, Texas falls flat on a ranking of best EV states, and more.

Texas puts it in park near the bottom of list of best states for EV drivers

You’d think that producing tens of thousands of Teslas might help drive up Texas’ standing among the best states for owning an electric vehicle. To the contrary, Texas ranks among the worst states to be an EV owner.

A new list from EV Charger Reviews puts Texas in the No. 2 position among the worst states for owning an EV. Washington leads the pack of the worst EV states. Topping the list of the best states for EV owners is Maine, followed by Colorado and Vermont. Read more about the methodology.

Big deal: GridBeyond's $55M series C 

GridBeyond,which has its U.S. headquarters in Houston, raised its series C to support its growth in the the United States.

The round closed at €52 million, or around $55 million. Founded in 2010, GridBeyond's AI platform allows businesses to unlock the full potential of energy assets and prioritize sustainability, resilience, and affordability of energy.

"This funding, together with the support of our new partners, will enable us to expand our product offering and strengthen our leadership position in this space," Michael Phelan, co-founder and CEO of GridBeyond, says in a news release. “The newly completed financing round sets GridBeyond on the path to increase the reach of our intelligent energy platform and deliver world leading AI and powerful automation capabilities to smart grid and energy markets across the world." Read more details about the round.

Greentown Labs opens C2V Initiative apps

For the fourth year, the Carbon to Value Initiative, a multi-year collaboration from the Urban Future Lab at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, Greentown Labs, and Fraunhofer USA — has opened applications. The program is looking for "startups at Technology Readiness Level 4-7 that are developing carbontech innovations related to carbon conversion to added-value products; carbon capture; and carbon sequestration and removal," according to Greentown.

The selected cohort will have access to the C2V Initiative’s CLC, an invitation-only group of corporate, nonprofit, and government thought leaders across the energy industry. Startups will also each receive a $10,000 stipend to support their participation in the accelerator. Applications are open through June 21, 2024. To learn more about the program or to apply, click here.

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A View From HETI

Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country. Photo via tesla.com

Shares of Tesla stock rallied Monday after the electric vehicle maker's CEO, Elon Musk, paid a surprise visit to Beijing over the weekend and reportedly won tentative approval for its driving software.

Musk met with a senior government official in the Chinese capital Sunday, just as the nation’s carmakers are showing off their latest electric vehicle models at the Beijing auto show.

According to The Wall Street Journal, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the matter, Chinese officials told Tesla that Beijing has tentatively approved the automaker's plan to launch its “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD, software feature in the country.

Although it's called FSD, the software still requires human supervision. On Friday the U.S. government’s auto safety agency said it is investigating whether last year’s recall of Tesla’s Autopilot driving system did enough to make sure drivers pay attention to the road. Tesla has reported 20 more crashes involving Autopilot since the recall, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In afternoon trading, shares in Tesla Inc., which is based in Austin, Texas, surged to end Monday up more than 15% — its biggest one-day jump since February 2020. For the year to date, shares are still down 22%.

Tesla has been contending with its stock slide and slowing production. Last week, the company said its first-quarter net income plunged by more than half, but it touted a newer, cheaper car and a fully autonomous robotaxi as catalysts for future growth.

Wedbush analyst Dan Ives called the news about the Chinese approval a “home run” for Tesla and maintained his “Outperform” rating on the stock.

“We note Tesla has stored all data collected by its Chinese fleet in Shanghai since 2021 as required by regulators in Beijing,” Ives wrote in a note to investors. “If Musk is able to obtain approval from Beijing to transfer data collected in China abroad this would be pivotal around the acceleration of training its algorithms for its autonomous technology globally.”

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